We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy studied "How America Gives." One of the study's charts shows a remarkable difference: "Red states are more generous than blue states. The eight states where residents gave the highest share of income to charity went for John McCain in 2008. The seven-lowest ranking states supported Barack Obama."
Yankee Northeasterners are cheapskates: "In states like Utah and Mississippi, the typical household gives more than 7 percent of its income to charity, while the average household in Massachusetts and three other New England states gives less than 3 percent."
What's the bottom-line?: "The reasons for the discrepancies among states, cities, neighborhoods are rooted in part in each area’s political philosophy about the role of government versus charity."
According to the CBO study in 2011 of charitable donations, if non-itemizers were able to deduct their donations it would increase the total by $2-billion. Those earning under $50,000 who did not itemize but contributed made up $17-billion out of over $170-billion total of contributions, or made up 7% of total contributions. -- So, adding them into the Chronicle of Philathropy study would not have measurably changed the result or its distribution. - If you are merely trying to sow confusion, once again, FAILED.
Bruce Kesler: According to the CBO study in 2011 of charitable donations,
The primary consideration is counting tithes as charity. While, some of the tithe may go to the poor, at least some of it goes to buying crystal cathedrals. Communities with a strong tradition of tithing, such as in Utah, will show high charitable giving, even when much of that giving isn't what others might mean by charity.
Contributing to one's church or synagogue or mosque, etc., in other words contributing to one's organized religion, is part of the tax code. You say this "isn't what others might mean by charity." Those "others", then, need to elect a majority of Congress. Until then, they're a fringe. -- While on the subject, legal charitable contributions include to colleges, like Harvard with its multi-billion$ endowment, and to PBS, with its political tilts. There are "others" who might not mean they are charities, but also have to elect a majority in Congress to repeal that part of the tax code. -- As usual, Zach, the false and misleading monicker you hide behind, your argument, however, is transparent nonsense, and doesn't -- as you intend -- accomplish your objective to mislead.
Bruce Kesler: Contributing to one's church or synagogue or mosque, etc., in other words contributing to one's organized religion, is part of the tax code.
Yes, it is. But it is easy to conflate the normal sense of charitable-giving with the tax definition of charitable-giving. Building a golden-spired cathedral is not what most people mean by charity.
What is your "normal sense of charitable giving"? It is not "normal" until held by a majority who elect a majority of Congress who enact it. Until then it is not "normal." --
As to church edifices, I suggest you visit the HQs of many of the prominent charities, including those supposedly dedicated to the poor ot ill, to see their edifices. While there ask about the multi-million $ salaries, or multi-hundred-thousand $ salaries, their leaders draw, and add in their lavish trips. -- Go to Charity Navigator or similar site to get the lay of their lands.
Bruce Kessler: What is your "normal sense of charitable giving"?
The one in the dictionary; giving voluntarily to someone in need.
Bruce Kessler: It is not "normal" until held by a majority who elect a majority of Congress who enact it.
The reason church-giving is deductible is to avoid First Amendment entanglement. It's lumped with charity by convention and for convenience. Certainly, some of it is used for the needy or other causes, though that is often raised separately from the tithe, which typically supports the staff, building and operating expenses.
Bruce Kessler: Go to Charity Navigator or similar site to get the lay of their lands.
Name, program expenses
American Red Cross, 92%
American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, 86%
Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, 91%
Muscular Dystrophy Association, 75%
Habitat for Humanity International, 74%
Catholic Relief Services, 94%
Doctors Without Borders USA, 89%
Save the Children, 91%
United States Fund for UNICEF, 91%
Jewish National Fund U.S., 81%
Special Olympics, 83%
National Council on Aging, 95%
1. "Normal" is defined as the standard, which is indicated in a democracy by majorities.
2. There are many causes "in need", not just those you may favor. Re-read #1
3. The First Amendment to our Constitution, passed by supermajorities and upheld since, is a good place to start with #1, "normal".
4. The charities listed are some of the most efficient. Now look for the major ones that are not. You, once again, try to confuse, by comparing the Chrystal Cathedral's seeming excess (except for the thousands who support it and pray there) to the most efficient (meaning most dedicated to "program costs"). Church edifices are, indeed, program costs in that they help congregants to inspire, a core purose -- or program -- of organized religions.
5. Our money does not belong to the government. It belongs to ourselves to use, legally, as we ourselves desire. Abuses of the tax code is one thing, but entirely apart from the core point that government exists at our democratic sufferance, and has become beyond sufferable.
From the top, Zach.
1. Do you have any reason to think the giving culture in any state is wildly different for people below $50K income and those above it?
2. Are you familiar with Arthur Brooks' research showing that conservatives give more than liberals even when church giving is removed?
3. Why are you so deeply concerned with religious giving skewing the numbers but not giving to educational and arts? (George Will's "It's not the same giving for the new boat house at St Paul's. But to the IRS it is")
4. Do public advocacy expenses count as real giving or are they non-charity? See Habitat, for example.
5. Is "While some of the tithe may go to the poor, at least some of it goes to buying crystal cathedrals (italics mine)" your precise accounting of the situation? It seems to mean that 1% of something and 99% of something are roughly the same because they are both "some."
You make occasional good points. This wasn't one of them.
Assistant VIllage Idiot: 1. Are you familiar with Arthur Brooks' research showing that conservatives give more than liberals even when church giving is removed?
Somewhat. If the study holds up, it would be a better measure than the study cited above.
Assistant VIllage Idiot: 3. Why are you so deeply concerned with religious giving skewing the numbers but not giving to educational and arts?
An argument can be made that giving to a church is for the public benefit, at least in the eyes of the giver, by spreading the Word of God. Traditionally, it was considered a civic and religious responsibility to tithe and to donate additionally towards the cathedral building fund. Tithing was even once legally mandated, and some countries still have state churches.
Assistant VIllage Idiot: Is "While some of the tithe may go to the poor, at least some of it goes to buying crystal cathedrals (italics mine)" your precise accounting of the situation? It seems to mean that 1% of something and 99% of something are roughly the same because they are both "some."
That's what the study didn't consider, and that's the point. However, if you argue #3, then it's immaterial. That's a reasonable point. Is that your argument, then?