Ray D. Madoff is a professor of Law at Boston College. Professor Madoff, in a NYT op-ed, is upset that people, other than him, get to decide where they want to donate their money. Actually, Madoff doesn’t really think that a person’s money is actually their money at all. It belongs to the government, they just let you use it. So you should not be allowed to donate it to things that he and his friends deem unworthy.
The charitable deduction constitutes a subsidy from the federal government. The government, in effect, makes itself a partner in every charitable bequest.
We should not give a blank check to support the whims of the wealthy. There should be a limit — a dollar amount or a percentage of the estate — on the estate tax charitable deduction. People could still give to charity as they like, but after a point they would be giving after-tax dollars. The deduction should be lower for bequests to private foundations than for money given directly to good causes.
Mind you, this money that he covets is money that you and I have earned over a lifetime through hard work and saving. Money that you have already payed taxes on. But it is not really yours, you see, it is theirs. Sure, they will let you donate some of it to good causes. But whose good causes? Barbara Streisand’s good causes or Katharine Drexel’s good causes? Who decides what is a good cause? The liberal brownshirts of course. You are too stupid (or bitter) to decide such weighty things for yourself. Just imagine what their list of good causes would look like:
Catholic Church –
Killing people by prohibiting condoms. NO DEDUCTION!
Al Gore Inc –
Climate must never change. FULL DEDUCTION!
Planned Parenthood –
Provides much needed women’s services. FULL DEDUCTION & MATCHING FUNDS!
Religious Based Educational Institutions –
Tough one. Education good but religion bad. PARTIAL DEDUCTION ONLY!
I think Leona Helmsley was uncharitable in her donation of billions to take care of dogs when people suffer worldwide. But I feel much safer knowing that the money can “go to the dogs” if it means the rest of us get to decide for ourselves where our after-tax dollars end up. Besides, I am quite sure that the dogs will make better use of those dollars than Madoff and his elite friends, the commissars of good causes, ever would.
I will take the blockheaded over the bureaucratic any day.