BENTLEY: Government giving gets Robin Hood all wrong

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

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In its second annual study of 153 countries, the Charity Aid Foundation concluded that the United States has demonstrated “strong” behavior across all three criteria measured — volunteering, helping strangers and donating money. The tax break might not have caused acts of good will — but it didn’t hurt.

While it is true that most Americans do not practice the biblical model of tithing 10 percent, Americans on average give about 2 percent of their income to help others. Such acts connect people to the needs of others, and remind them that there is more to life on this earth than the acquisition of things.

It is not just that government fails miserably at handling the needs of Americans. Detaching ordinary people from the responsibility to give to those in need allows us all to become more self-centered and hardened to the pain around us. It gives an excuse to walk by the needy, rationalizing that it’s Uncle Sam’s problem.

America has unwisely spent more money than it takes in and failed to address the reality that political promises come with a steep price tag. A budget crisis exists, and it needs to be solved. It will not be the “rich” who suffer if the charitable giving deduction is ended. It will be those most vulnerable who will lose the blessings of help provided through the private sector. This is no Robin Hood plan — it will take from the rich and the poor alike.

Chuck Bentley, CEO of Crown, is best-selling author of “The S.A.L.T. Plan: How to Prepare for an Economic Crisis of Biblical Proportions” (Crown Financial Ministries, 2012).

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