Giving to charities is NOT the same as paying taxes

Donation Tin CanOne of the reasons offered against tax contributions is that many of the goals of public systems can just as easily be accomplished through private giving. Not so fast says Mark Rosenman in this interesting piece from the Chronicle of Philanthropy. “While charitable support can and should be directed to solve these critical social, environmental, and economic challenges, it cannot and ought not to be seen as a replacement for government. We established government to hold enduring responsibility for America’s public safety and welfare.”

We agree. Longstanding, universal goals should not be subject to the whims of donors, regardless of their intentions or the level of their generosity. The article goes on to conclude that “It is government that has the ability, through our democratically elected representatives, to identify and analyze threats to Americans’ safety and welfare, to set priorities, and to propose and adopt appropriate responses. It is only government—at the federal, state, and local levels—that has the legitimate power appropriate to these tasks. And government must have the authority to secure the money needed to carry out its jobs.”

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