a co-worker and i were having a discussion today about how lower income people donate significantly more of their income (percentage-wise) than higher income people. that was the key point in my argument that taxes are necessary to support projects like welfare and low-income housing. his argument had been that if people’s taxes went down significantly, they would give significantly more to charity.
anyway, he brought up an interesting idea, and i was wondering whether any politician had ever suggested it before.
basically, for every dollar you donated to certain charities* you got a one dollar tax-credit, up to a certain percentage of your income or a certain dollar amount. they idea was that privately run charities are more efficient, and people would feel better about giving money if they could choose organizations they cared about and could then see their money at work. so, basically the government would get out of the welfare business, but very strongly encourage the population to help the less fortunate through private charities.
any thoughts on that?
*one caveat of this whole thing is that there would need to be some kind of designation beyond “non-profit organization” that indicated that the non-profit directly contributed to the welfare of the less fortunate. only donations to non-profits with this special designation would be eligible for the credit. so, if you wanted to, you could give $1000 to your local museum and get the standard write-off, or donate $1000 to the local foodbank and get a full credit. or something like that.