- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 14, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It seems Barack and Michelle Obama, and Joe and Jill Biden are among America’s common folk when it comes to donating goods to such great organizations as Goodwill and Fisher House.

The Obamas listed Fisher House, a sort of Ronald McDonald House-like organization that houses the families of hospitalized members of the military, as recipients of their charitable contributions on tax forms. It’s an honorable organization, to say the least.

Meanwhile, the Bidens’ IRS filing named the Ministry of Caring among its donor groups, giving it exercise equipment and furniture.

Both Fisher House and the Ministry of Caring, which is based in Wilmington, Del., and countless other nonprofits will be listed on the tax filings of the real common folk the taxpayers who give because they know it’s the right thing to do.

Unfortunately, the president doesn’t want to give them a break.

The 2014 Obama budget, released last week, proposes smaller deductions for charitable donations, capping the deductible for donations at 28 percent rather than the current 40 percent.

The administration has been pushing such a rate increase for four years, and it could have the unintended consequence of discouraging donations from common folk.

Hardworking Americans routinely open their wallets to charities and when disaster strikes, even when the crisis is halfway around the globe, and he knows that charitable giving closer to home can sometimes balance the difference between life and death.

Whitman-Walker, Salvation Army and Food and Friends perch on the top of my list.

The Salvation Army is an effective and efficient Christian-based social services organization that tames the demons of substance abuse and soothe the troubled souls of people in despair.

Whitman-Walker, meanwhile, has long been in the forefront of health care, initially only gay men and now a more broad-based clientele.

All manner of nonprofits including clean air and water and save-a-pet programs, as well as efforts targeting domestic abuse, runaway youths, homelessness and senior care are helping humanity.

Consider one of the world’s largest organizations of its kind the Red Cross.

Whenever and wherever unfathomable disaster hits, we expect the Red Cross to come to the rescue and it does.

When Newtown, Conn., residents were numbed by a single gunman, trained Red Cross staff and volunteers hit the ground, even consoling and counseling first responders, who had never seen or experienced such a horrifying tragedy.

Earthquake in Haiti. Twin hurricanes on the Gulf Coast. Tsunami in Japan.

While less tech-savvy Americans pulled out their checkbooks and fired up their computers, younger generations whipped out smartphones to text $5, $10, $20 donations to the Red Cross, and other groups pledged challenges to aid mankind. It’s so easy nowadays, and the Obama White House should get out of way.

Sure, Americans are always going to open their wallets because that’s who we are and that’s what we do.

It’s just that I get the sense that the Obama administration is trying to not only increase the “charity tax” but replace human kindness with government spending.

Determined to raise taxes on the rich by forcing them to pay higher rates, the administration might not have given considerable thought to what common folk will do if the tax rate changes.

For certain, much of what common folk donate by way of household goods clothing, footwear, kitchenware, glassware, bicycles, toys and pottery, as the Bidens did to Goodwill they no longer need or want.

But they are giving to what they deem worthy causes.

That is why the president and Congress should give them a bigger break.

• Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.