Cumberland Times-News

December 13, 2012

Stopping charitable deductions no way to reduce the deficit

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

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The new movie on Abraham Lincoln contains an unexpected pertinence, focusing as it does on a Congressional deadlock on the Constitutional Amendment abolishing slavery. 
While it would be pure folly to compare the possible results of the current political impasse in Washington with the most important social event of the 19th century, it might be worth noting that political compromise made the emancipation of slavery possible. 
The lack of compromise might well defeat a less worthy, but still important, legislative result that also contains some moral consequences.
One of the possible measures currently debated in Washington to reduce the federal deficit is to remove income tax deductions for charitable causes. 
At a time when the economic need of so many people is so critical, surely Congress can find more suitable measures to reduce the national deficit. 
To remove charitable deductions would produce another kind of deficit — a moral one. It shouldn’t take a tax benefit to help put food on family tables or provide presents to children during the holiday season. But it surely helps to increase the size of contributions. 
And by this time we should all know that the fundamental needs of many people in our area, and elsewhere, are great.
So let’s help others as much as we can and hope Congress does, too.
John Wiseman
Cumberland