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CUTTING THE BUDGET: A BULL'S-EYE AND ANOTHER TARGET
In response to the Mar. 27 editorial titled "How to cut a cool $1 trillion," talk about a bull's-eye. That article had the most sensible list of spending cuts to eliminate the budget deficit I've ever seen. Did you send it to the President and to all the members of Congress?
Vadnais Heights, Minn.
I would like to propose another cut: tax breaks to charities.
Tax breaks for charitable contributions are a very wasteful way of spending taxpayers' money. Mr. X donates a painting worth $30 million to a museum. We reimburse him with about $10 million. I'd rather use the money to cut the national debt or improve education.
Undoubtedly, many charities are led by noble people and do a great job of alleviating some of society's problems. On the other hand, many officers of certain organizations draw salaries higher than the President's. They may deserve it, but I object to raising the national debt to pay them. The fact that the number of U.S. charities is rapidly approaching half a million may hint that there is an economic incentive that encourages certain individuals to develop charitable organizations. I believe that the tax break is the main incentive.
I estimate that the cost to taxpayers from tax breaks to charities is $50 billion to $100 billion per year. We could save this amount if we ceased reimbursing those who contribute to charities. The real benefactors don't need a tax break to make real contributions.