There is no doubt that the latest fiscal cliff crisis led the “powers that be” out preying for some new sources (of revenue) to devour. They certainly didn’t waste any time finding their latest target. But, “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel likes to say, and a strategy the Obama administration has certainly perfected.
Even though our national debt has recently exceeded $16 trillion, House Speaker John Boehner, claims the president told him,”We don’t have a spending problem.”
Instead of seeing the obvious, the administration continues to pursue its own progressive agenda, attempting to expand the girth of government beyond our wildest imagination.
The parasite it has become, the federal government now focuses much of its time “eyeing” its next source to consume, which inevitably comes off the backs of hard-working Americans. In the past few months, we’ve heard several proposals to:
- Raise tax rates on those “evil rich” people
- Clamp down on tax deductions
- Or, a combination of the two
In their latest effort to generate more revenue, progressives have been focused on– the charitable deduction.
According to the Hoover Institute:
“On four separate occasions, President Obama has proposed limiting the deduction for charitable contributions to a maximum 28 percent. But, the President’s proposal is not alone…The Bowles-Simpson commission proposes that taxpayers receive a credit equal to only 12 percent of their charitable deduction, but only to the extent that their charitable giving exceeds 2 percent of their adjusted gross income.”
Both these proposals slash the charitable deductions by over 40 percent.
Hoover Institute goes on to say, “The received progressive consensus mistakenly pushes hard on limiting charitable deductions and increasing the progressivity of the tax code.”
President Obama likes to think that he is our nation’s benevolent and compassionate savior. However, his own redistributive effort (bigger government entitlement programs + slashing charitable tax deductions) actually hurts the poor, while harming everyone else along the way. Let me explain.
First of all, President Obama’s redistributive effort destroys the incentive to work hard.
Each one of us was created to work with our hands–to create, to build things, to labor, and to enjoy the fruits of that labor (yes, including the poor).
Unfortunately people are less likely to work very hard when they know the government is just going to “snatch their fruit” (income, wealth) away from them for its own (oftentimes corrupt and greedy) purposes.
When we create wealth, we like to see it in action. We like to see how our income is helping the needy through our own voluntary transactions.
However, President Obama’s idea of “spreading the wealth” diminishes the motivation to create wealth by punishing anyone who dares to work hard enough to earn a decent living (just take a look at all the socialist European countries like Spain and Greece to see how this philosophy is really working out).
Needless to say, when less wealth is created, little money gets to those who really need it.
Second, President Obama’s redistributive strategy destroys our freedom.
According to the Hoover Institute, “Limiting charitable deductions means more centralized control over social resources.”
Translation: more socialism.
When the government collects money (through higher taxes), some remote bureaucrat gets to determine who gets that money instead of those who actually earned it. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather give my hard-earned money to my local soup kitchen than to fund abortions at Planned Parenthood, or to arm radicals in the Muslim Brotherhood. President Obama’s redistributive effort not only restricts my freedom to choose the charities that are dearest to my own heart, it also uses my tax money to fund sources I am morally oppose to.
Third, President Obama’s redistributive effort is actually destructive to the needy.
In reality, charities do not actually specialize in wealth transfers from rich to poor. But, as Diana Aviv, the head of the Independent Sector pointed out in her testimony to Congress, “Private efforts to assist those in need are massive. In my view, they are far more efficient in getting aid to target groups than the United States government is.”
Again, from the Hoover Institute:
“It is tempting to think that the limitations on deductions will hurt the rich by cutting back on their deductions. But the burden will fall heavily on the recipients of charitable support, for as the price of making a charitable gift rises (anywhere from 30 to 100 percent), the level of charitable giving will decline. Hurt in the shuffle are, of course, the low-income beneficiaries of charity.”
Sadly, those who suffer most from President Obama’s redistributive effort are those who need help the most.
Last and most important, President Obama’s redistributive effort is God, Interrupted.
In other words, President Obama’s campaign to replace charity with bigger government programs is an attempt to interfere with God’s Commission to His believers, which is to “Love God, Love People, and Do Something About It,” as my own church phrases it.
In the book, They Fired the First Shot (pg. 163) by Caritas of Birmingham, it says,”God calls upon the hearts of believers to care for their brothers in need. Charity is to be a virtue of the heart, to use what blessings God has shared with us, and share these blessings with others. INDIVIDUALS, as believers, are charged with this virtue.”
When we love our God, we are “prompted” by Him to help our fellow human beings. Charity is a God Thing.
But unfortunately, President Obama seems to see this kind of virtuous charity as an obstacle to his royal kingship. His progressive policies reveal his own elitist ideology that only the Nanny State is morally capable of redistributing the wealth, not the individual believer or body of believers (church).
While God sees charity as the individual believer’s responsibility, President Obama sees it as government’s responsibility. This is pure political elitist arrogance on his part.
They Fired the First Shot (page 164) also explains, “Charity is given in Christ’s name to not only meet the needs of the poor, but to spread the Good News of Christ through our witness and the sharing of His blessings.”
President Obama’s proposal of slashing charitable deductions decreases the financial capacity at which believers can give directly to the needy, and limits the ability to evangelize to them. Replacing charity with government redistribution restricts (financially) the spiritual mission of believers to share the blessings and the Gospel of Christ through personal, virtuous giving. It’s God, interrupted.
However, it is only when we (as believers) begin to accept this mentality that “government will take care of the needy,” that our own hearts have become corrupted by it. In other words, the “powers that be” can only interrupt our Godly mission if we allow them.
Many charities have actually sprung from the teachings of Christ. But as government continues to explode and to dispense its own “blessings” through its many entitlement programs, the needy find they have no need to hear about the real Savior who happens to love them much more the federal government. “Who needs Jesus when the STATE is now our shepherd?!” Sadly, they cannot see that the “powers that be” have them ensnared inside their trap.
Newsweek actually declared President Obama’s second inauguration as the “Second Coming”. They were deliberately mocking Christ, declaring their messiah has already come. While their savior can offer them food stamps, free birth control pills, and free cells phones, he still lacks the power to offer them eternal life.
Despite the progressive gospel the “powers that be” may be preaching, taking money from you to give to others (via big entitlement programs) is not charity. It is socialism.
We have seen time and time again throughout history that socialism always fails because eventually no needs are met through the state’s utopia fantasy of redistribution. In fact, the “government god” eventually implodes while its citizens all suffer.
As Ronald Reagan said in his own inaugural address, “…[G]overnment is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.”
He was absolutely right about that.
So, what on earth are we to do about all this mess? We can begin by asking ourselves: How did we end up in this situation in the first place? As 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.”
We can see there is absolutely no liberty in the federal government’s idea of wealth redistribution. This means the Spirit of the Lord isn’t really in socialism.
Yet, socialism (or whatever “ism” you want to call it) has managed to creep in to our nation and fully blossom. Through our own complacency, we have allowed the “powers that be” to interrupt our Spiritual Mission to Love God, Love People, and Do Something About it.
Many of us (as believers) have also been corrupted by the “the government can take care it” mentality when God has specifically charged us with that responsibility. We are to take the blessings God has shared with us, and use them to bless others. And through this charity, we spread the Good News of Christ. We get to share the truth. This is our mission and our privilege as believers.
So, if we really want to get even with the “powers that be,” the best way is to be a blessing to others, in spite of them. Yes, even if it costs us a little more. Let’s not allow them to interrupt the sharing of blessings and the Gospel of Christ.
The only way we are going to disempower the political elites is to empower the needy first. We must empower them with the Truth. They will never get it from the Nanny State. It is up to us. You and I are on the timeline of history right now. Let’s make it count!