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The War on Charity

There are lots of reasons to be upset by President Obama's massive tax hike proposals for families earning more than $250,000 a year, not the least of which is the plan to reduce the tax credit given for itemized deductions, including charitable contributions. From The Washington Times:

"Some of the reforms and offsets contained or referenced in the budget, such as the limitation on itemized deductions, raise concerns and will require more study as we determine the best policies for getting America back on track," said Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, Montana Democrat.

Roberton Williams, senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, said it's impossible to calculate the exact effects of all the tax changes, but said the overall result is clear - less philanthropic giving.

"This will lead people to give less to charities if they behave the way they've behaved in the past," he said. "We've already seen a drop in giving as a result of the economic collapse. On top of that, this will just reduce the amount of giving."

Asked about that, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag said Mr. Obama took care of that by giving charities government money to make up part of the difference.

"Contained in the recovery act, there's $100 million to support nonprofits and charities as we get through this period of economic difficulty," he said.

He disputed that giving would drop, and said an economic recovery will help charities, too. (emphasis added)

Well, there you have it. If you can find a better example of a naked private sector power grab by the Federal government, I'd like to see it. To be fair, the article implies that both Democrats and Republicans are skeptical about reducing tax deductions for charitable contributions. But just the idea of choking off private sector contributions in exchange for government handouts allows us to clearly see the big government ambitions of the Obama administration.

Charities have already been hit hard by the recession. So why would the government want to damage their fundraising ability even further? Because when private charities are forced to start taking money from the government, guess who will eventually assume ultimate control over them? Guess who will start dictating how the money is spent, who the charities can hire, and what the charities' ultimate mission will be?

It's no coincidence that the Obama administration has also proposed an end to the so-called "conscience rule" enacted by the Bush administration, that gives health care providers the freedom to refuse to perform medical procedures that violate their personal moral beliefs. Notice how nicely the refusal to allow decisions of conscience will tie into the government's new plans to pay doctors "for results rather than procedures." And once the government's refusal to allow decisions of conscience has been sufficiently widened in scope, any charity accepting government funds will be completely at their mercy.

I think it's about time that I scolded my Christian friends who voted for Obama because they thought that his plans to greatly expand government benefits to the poor were more "Christian" than the conservative ideal of private charity. Is this what you voted for, private charity being squeezed out in favor of bigger government handouts? Doctors being forced to perform procedures or withhold treatments at the government's whim?

Reacting to the proposed end of the "conscience rule," The Anchoress writes:

If we are going to be a nation that supports the "freedom to choose," then it seems to me that has to go both ways. Professional health workers should be "free to choose" whether or not they will participate in what they find to be morally objectionable.

Freedom that is only one-sided i.e., "she is free to have a late term, partial-birth abortion and you are not free to refuse her request" or "she is free to demand this contraception and you are not free to refuse to fill that prescription," is not really freedom.

It is enslavement. Dress it up any way you want. If the government is forcing you to do what your conscience tells you not to, under threats to your freedom, your purse or your livelihood, then you are not free.

Of course the clues for Barack Obama's super-sized single-payer socialist utopian vision of government were there all along. Those of us who made an effort to learn about the people like William Ayres who taught and mentored Barack Obama, shaped his worldview, and ultimately trusted him to one day carry their mantle upon his shoulders -- we already knew what to expect after the luster of "hope and change" had worn off. And now, barely a month into the era of Obama, other people seem to be catching on as well.

Hopefully a significant number of Americans will soon understand that in order for an uber nanny state to be created, war must be declared on personal freedom. Right now it's a very cleverly planned stealth war, thinly veiled as benevolence, promoted by calls for "responsibility" and the denunciation of "greed," and camouflaged by the promise of superfluous, shallow "freedoms" like "reproductive choice" and unfettered access to X-rated entertainment. But never the less it is a war, and its eventual success or failure depends entirely upon whether we choose to surrender, or to fight back.



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Comments (20)

These frantic call... (Below threshold)
gracecurl Author Profile Page:

These frantic calls for fiscal responsibility coming from the right are laughable. Lets see some of those posts from the past 8 years as the GOP, aided by their mindless flock of submissive acolytes took the country from a 250 billion budget surplus to a 1 trillion dollar deficit. You must have been SUPER PISSED.

Only the impaired, unable to read charts and graphs, buy into this nonsense.

To be fair to the internet ... (Below threshold)
Anni:

To be fair to the internet types of conservatives, most of them WERE pissing and moaning about the spending under Bush.

So, it's not so laughable.

Given that progressives giv... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Given that progressives give less to charity than conservatives (look it up if you don't believe me) - I would imagine that people like Rangel and Pelosi would say "so what" when deciding to disallow charitable contributions.

I am all in favor of doctor... (Below threshold)

I am all in favor of doctors choosing what procedures they will form and I don't know of a single example of a doctor or nurse being forced to take part in an abortion.

For pharmacists not filling prescriptions because of conscience, I have NO sympathy. They are elevating themselves to M.D. and making a decision based on no knowledge of the patient and their medical history.

They are pre-judging and that's not a Christian thing is it?

"To be fair to the internet... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"To be fair to the internet types of conservatives, most of them WERE pissing and moaning about the spending under Bush."-Anni

There were SOME questions aired IN CERTAIN SMALL CORNERS during the No Child Left Behind power grab such as "Who is this pinko, anyway?"

Mostly though it was Haley Barbour's "Rising Tide", Part Deux with Big Plans for enlisting Mexican citizen-auxiliaries as sharecropper Republicans with the offer of a farm...or something. And a line of credit. At the expense (theoretically) of domestic Democrats.

Basically, until the Harriet Miers gobsmack, doctrinaire Republicans were robots. Most of the Bushbloggers took comfort in their own self image as keyboard commandos, the poor man's Marat, or (admittedly) fat but mentally engaged, or something likewise asnine and pathetic.


For pharmacists not fill... (Below threshold)
macofromoc:

For pharmacists not filling prescriptions because of conscience, I have NO sympathy. They are elevating themselves to M.D

By writing the perscription the pharmacist is elevating himself to M.D. status.

and denying a pharmacist the freedom to choose wouldn't be very liberal now would it?

Reacting to the proposed... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Reacting to the proposed end of the "conscience rule,"

This is a rule that Bush practically scribbled on a napkin on his way out the door. A rule that he went 7 years, 11 months, and 29 days without needing, but suddenly decided was necessary literally the day before he left office. A poorly-worded, overly-broad rule that not only allows health professionals to refuse to perform legal procedures, but also lets them refuse to refer patients to other professionals who will perform those procedures.

This is the rule the reversal of which you find to be sinister?

Can a doctor simply say, "I... (Below threshold)

Can a doctor simply say, "I don't specialize in abortions," or is the fact that they have an MD enough to force them to provide an abortion to anyone who tells them to?

I find it ironic that it took a welfare mom with six kids getting octuplets on purpose for the liberals to start questioning the right to privacy of the mother.

Charities have to be contro... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Charities have to be controlled or destroyed for a communist government take control. Since a huge amount of charities are religion based, they have to be destroyed. Others that are run by individuals or groups of like minded individuals must be destroyed. Groups of people that have banded todgeher to help their fellow-man with no reward for themselves are very dangerous to a totalitarian government. It absolutely will not do for charities to make up for the lack of the government.

Wit the amount of doctors and pharmacies we have in this country, having a doctor refuse a particular procedure for any reason isn't that horrible. There is always another doctor one can see. It might be inconvenient to get there, but one can be found. Doctors are also subject to market forces, litigation and insurance companies. Even without massive government control, the medical proffession has been mostly self-policing/correcting the last few decades. The various states have done a good job regulating medicine and when that has faild litigation has worked. Quality medical care truly does not need Federal Control, in fact, there isn't justification in the constitution for the government to control medical care, or charities for that matter.

Finally, Many, many conservatives were outraged over the Bush administration and how the excess spending, the conduct of the wars, their deaf ear to the voters etc. It is why republicans lost control in 2006 and ultimately lost the white house in 2008. The pissed-off voters stayed home or voted for third party canidates.

"A rule that he went 7 year... (Below threshold)

"A rule that he went 7 years, 11 months, and 29 days without needing..."

That's an almost perfect description of the 11th hour Clinton rule that suddenly changed the permissible amount of arsenic in drinking water, isn't it? Actually what made the Clinton drinking water rule a puzzlement was the fact that "Mr. Environment," Vice President Al Gore, apparently didn't need it for 7 years, 11 months, and 29 days either.

Of course this kind of rule jockeying takes place during every Presidential administration transition. But it seems clear to me that the Bush rule was enacted specifically because of assumed Obama policy goals, such as the "Freedom of Choice Act" which has been specifically condemned by the Catholic church because it could force providers of medical services to offer abortion and birth control.

And really, what other reason could the Obama administration have for abolishing such a rule?

But it seems clear to me... (Below threshold)
Brian:

But it seems clear to me that the Bush rule was enacted specifically because of assumed Obama policy goals

So Bush identifies a potential "goal" of the Obama administration, and his last act as president is to try to f-ck it up? Very mature. I'm surprised he didn't take all the "O" keys off the keyboards.

And really, what other reason could the Obama administration have for abolishing such a rule?

As I stated above, for one thing, because the Bush rule allows health professionals to refuse to even refer patients elsewhere.

And, dear Brian, are you te... (Below threshold)
epador:

And, dear Brian, are you telling me that I MUST refer a patient somewhere you (without and MD) insist I do?

I'm in this higher range, b... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

I'm in this higher range, but I'll still contribute to charities. This shouldn't deter persons from doing what's right for others. Many organizations such as the Salvation Army are wonderful organizations.

And, dear Brian, are you... (Below threshold)
Brian:

And, dear Brian, are you telling me that I MUST refer a patient somewhere you (without and MD) insist I do?

What does me not having an MD have to do with anything? Do you only provide referrals to patients who have MDs?

I am saying that many states, including Bush's own Texas, require pharmacists who refuse prescriptions on moral grounds to refer patients elsewhere, and that it's ill-considered to enact a last-minute blanket rule that bans this practice.

Isn't "let the states decide" a conservative mantra?

Had I ever wanted an aborti... (Below threshold)

Had I ever wanted an abortion, I don't think I would have looked to Catholic hospital to provide it. How silly can you get?

As far as I know, one can't force a doctor or nurse to take part in an abortion, and that's been the law for years. It's enough. There's no need for the law to go further.

For refusing to fill prescriptions based on conscience? Maybe your pharmacist's conscience says narcotic painkillers are harmful in whatever dose, that suffering is good for the soul or something.

Maybe your pharmacist thinks that medications which effect neural circuits are messing with God's creation and won't fill SSRI prescriptions?

Obama is right on this one.

For refusing to fill pre... (Below threshold)
wave man:

For refusing to fill prescriptions based on conscience? Maybe your pharmacist's conscience says narcotic painkillers are harmful in whatever dose, that suffering is good for the soul or something.

Maybe your pharmacist thinks that medications which effect neural circuits are messing with God's creation and won't fill SSRI prescriptions?

Straw man. Just as you wouldn't expect someone who doesn't believe in blood transfusions to apply to run a blood bank, it is doubtful that someone with those convictions would study pharmacy in the first place.

But pharmacy does not require one who believes that life begins at conception and to end that life is murder to participate.

The rich can escape Obama t... (Below threshold)

The rich can escape Obama taxes by use of offshore holding companies and offshore trusts:

corporate inversion
offshore corporation
incorporate offshore
offshore banking
offshore packages
offshore incorporations

http://www.offshoresimple.com/resellers/affiliate/affiliate.php?id=171&group=1

Donna B, your comment is as... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Donna B, your comment is assinine at best. If you cannot figure out why, go comment on WizbangPop.

Paul Hooson again giving his resume. Paul, are you also a governor? Judge? All of the above? ww

"But never the less it is a... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

"But never the less it is a war, and its eventual success or failure depends entirely upon whether we choose to surrender, or to fight back."

I will state again: "It's all about control."
You do the math...

Willie, I'll bet Donna know... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Willie, I'll bet Donna knows how to spell "asinine."

Not a straw man at all, either, Mr wave man. Pharmacists have been refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control pills for teens on the basis of their "conscience." It turns out that many of those prescriptions were written to help girls with debilitating cramps, dysmenhorrea, etc., not for birth control at all. That's unconscionable holier-than-thou posturing, and it should piss you off as much as it would me, were MY daughter one of those girls.




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