Mrs. Hazel Scarborough and her family lived just down the road from our farm in Lake Placid. I knew them well. Here is her account of a cattle drive in 1938, not too long after she and her husband, W. J. Scarborough, were married.
Monthly Archives: February 2012
Despite good intentions, we have overstayed our welcome.
Calling It Quits in Afghanistan – The Huffington Post
Being an old retired guy, I sometimes have too much time on my hands and start thinking about things that are costing me money. This time I believe I have hit on a subject that saves me money in some ways, but costs me money in others.
I’ll be one of the first to admit that I don’t hesitate to take my standard deduction when I file my income taxes, but today I started thinking about the deductions of millionaires who contribute large amounts to their favorite charities (including the religion of their choice), and realized that charitable deductions are one of the concealed windfalls in the tax code. Okay, they aren’t concealed, but since everyone gets one, we don’t particularly think about it except to deduct it when we file our taxes.
Except I started to think about it over my sausage and eggs this morning. What if I only donate $100.00 one year, but claim my IRS-allowed standard deduction. I know that includes other things than my charitable contributions, but this is a “what-if” comparison. My standard deduction last year came out to just over 18%. That would be a lot more than $100.00. So the IRS “paid” me a good part of the difference by allowing that amount off my tax bill for the year.
Now, lets consider everyone’s charitable deductions. The national average of deductions for charitable giving is estimated to be about 25%. The way I suddenly saw it this morning — perhaps from the open-eyed look the over-easy eggs gave me — if a millionaire donated a million dollars to his favorite charity, church or whatever, the IRS — the Federal Government — paid $250,000 dollars to his favorite charity. So it doesn’t matter whether it was IRS crediting me for charitable gifts that I didn’t give, or crediting the millionaire for 25% of what he gave, the money is coming out of the U.S. Treasury.
No politician is going to suggest that the charitable-giving tax-break be revoked, but I’m not running for office, so I’ll say it. If the government would stop the standard deductions and the itemized deductions for “Charitable Giving,” and just let people give to charities as they wish knowing they would get NO deductions from their free-will giving, the increase of cash-flow into the Treasury would be enormous.
I’d suffer through the loss of part of my Standard Deduction, hoping for even a slight overall lower tax rate, to help get America out of the financial hole it’s in now.
If one of the government or private agencies that figures these things out would determine how much the increase into the Treasury would be, it might prove to be a big help to our budget deficit and debt reduction.