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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Government giving gets Robin Hood all wrong -- By Chuck Bentley, The Washington Times

 (Illustration by Linas Garsys, The Washington Times)

 Killing incentive to give will hurt the poor, not the rich

Afundamental misunderstanding of the Robin Hood legend in the current discussion of tax policy undergirds a mistaken idea, too rarely evaluated — that hurting the “rich” helps the “poor.” Right now, this is played out in proposals to reduce tax deductions for charitable giving.

Government-spending advocates argue that they should be able to seize more funds from the wealthy by limiting deductions for nonprofit giving. The “rich” will hand over their money to the government in higher taxes and continue to give charitably, and the “poor” will receive largesse from both.

This strained reading of Robin Hood makes several very flawed assumptions, including the idea that government is an effective source of help for the poor and that wealth builders deserve to be penalized. In fact, the Robin Hood of legend took back from tax collectors the money seized from the poor and returned it — a medieval tax refund. The heroic act was helping people keep their own money, unjustly seized by the ruling class who did not use those resources to help the needy.

When it comes to real help, just who is most effective? This is the deeper question begging an honest answer.

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