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Hey Congress! Want to Give Your Approval Rating a Little Boost?

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Here’s a simple little tax cut that should be popular with both Democrats and Republicans.

These are hard times for charities. As a result of the Great Recession, the need for assistance is up and donations are down. A simple change in the tax code could help to boost donations.

At present, the only way to take a tax deduction for charitable contributions is to itemize deductions, and many people who donate to charity don’t have enough mortgage interest, medical expenses, etc. to lower their taxes by itemizing. Congress should amend the tax code so that charitable donations are included on the first page of the 1040 form as an adjustment to gross income.

If you are giving part of your income to charity, you shouldn’t be taxed on the money you gave away. Many people, myself included, donate to charity despite the fact that they get no deduction for doing so. This simple change, however, would almost certainly lead to an increase in donations.

The warring parties in Congress can’t seem to agree on much these days. Maybe this quick, simple fix to the tax code could give the donkeys and the elephants an excuse to go out for a drink together after a hard day’s night, raising the millions of dollars they need to keep the jobs they don’t have time to do because they have to spend all of their time raising millions of dollars to spend on pointless, misleading advertising during the upcoming election.

If nothing else, they would have worked together to do something positive to ease the pain of the recession for those not fortunate enough to have jobs on Wall Street.

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About Winston Apple

Winston Apple is the author of "Edutopia: A Manifesto for the Reform of Public Education." He is a former teacher. He has a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Missouri at Kansas City (1990). He is also a singer-songwriter and recording artist.
  • Glenn Contrarian

    Winston –

    I could agree with your proposal, but there’s one thing I’d like to see as part of that proposal: church offerings no longer tax deductible.

    Now that would be a very unpopular idea and would stand zero chance of being included into our tax laws. It’s just a personal scruple of mine (which in fact is also the policy of the Church of which I am a member). You see, to a Christian who takes the Bible seriously, offerings are not a charity…but a duty, one that is at least as important as any of one’s other financial responsibilities.

    But that is only my opinion and my personal duty to God, and just as I hate seeing me or mine being subjected to religious pressure by those outside the Church, it would be hypocritical of me to force such a requirement on those who do not believe as I do.

  • Winston Apple

    I just contacted the offices of both of my Senators and my representative in Congress to direct their attention to this piece.

    It only took a few minutes. I’m a pretty cynical for an optimist, but I figure it’s worth a try.

    And Baronius, the tax code is full of ideas that didn’t and don’t sound good to me. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  • Baronius

    I dunno. Every idea for changing the tax code sounds good, but they just make it more complicated. And even good social engineering is social engineering. I’m increasingly leaning toward a flat tax.

  • Winston, this is a much too sensible and reasonable proposal for the donkeys and elephants, but maybe they’ll wake up someday.