Readers of the Charles Dickens classic will remember the scene early in the tale where two philanthropic businessmen visit Scrooge at his business and ask that he contribute charity to help the unfortunate. Scrooge dismisses them, saying that he wants to be left alone and that the prisons and workhouses he supports through the taxes he pays are all the charity he would give.
The 2017 Republican Tax Cut has made it acceptable for people to behave like Scrooge before he was visited by the Three Spirits.
By doubling the standard tax deduction to $24,000 in that piece of fecal matter (sorry, legislation), the incentive for those to give to charities (like the Salvation Army, homeless shelters, or Meals for Wheels) has fallen.
According to a report by Giving USA, in the first full year of the application of the law, individual and corporate charitable giving, when adjusted for inflation fell by 54 billion dollars, representing the first decline in helping others through the tax code since 2013.
In the full year (2017) before the enactment of the Republican Tax Plan, charitable giving had risen by 5.7 percent.
No one knows if this is a one-time event or the beginning of a long term trend.
Unfortunately, for those that depend on the generosity of others, they do not have time to find out.
Laurie Roberts of AZ Central wrote a moving commentary on August 12, 2019, about the plight of the people who rely on the Justa Center Homeless Shelter that caters to elderly citizens that have nowhere else to go.
Roberts reports that “while senior homelessness is soaring, donations to this day resource center for homeless people age 55 and older have dropped drastically.”
The people who run the center, according to Roberts, “attribute (the decline in donations) in large part to federal tax law changes that have decreased charitable giving and an ever-widening pool of Arizona charities competing for state tax-credit donations.”
The Center, because of, in part, to the declining donations, is in danger of closing.
An Arizona or United States where the tax code and laws make it acceptable not to give to charity or help those in need is not an Arizona or United States that should be revered.
This war on the poor and unfortunate is a disgusting policy pursuit for the Chief Executive Deadbeat (who has relied on this nations bankruptcy law for relief from paying his debts) and his reactionary plutocratic-all for the one percent Republican allies.
Whether it is incentivizing the taxpayer to not want to give to charity or pursue policies that cut back on food stamps, school lunches, or Medicaid, these goals do not make America great again.
They weaken the country by hurting our most vulnerable, like the children, disabled, and elderly, who can not fend for themselves.
Legislation should be adopted that restores the cash giving incentives to the tax code before more people needlessly suffer.
The People should all want to be like Scrooge at the end of A Christmas Carol, not the beginning.
In the meantime, please contact Justa Center at justacenter.org or 602-254-6524 if you think you can help.
Featured Image from Coffeehouse Spectator