Wednesday, March 28, 2012

UK’s Government Discourages Charity

We are often told that the private sector is instinctively greedy, and thus requires intervention to spread ‘charity’ and ‘compassion’.

Well, in the UK, acts of private sector charity or philanthropy will be penalized.

From Wall Street Journal Wealth Blog,

The U.K.’s new budget has ignited all manner of class warfare. Retirees say it’s a gift to the rich at the expense of the poor. The wealthy say it’s another attack on success and job creators.

But one piece has gone largely unnoticed: the limit on philanthropic giving. The measure would cap the tax relief for wealthy givers at 25% of their annual income, or £50,000, whichever is higher. It takes effect next year.

It’s similar to the Obama proposal, which would limit charitable deductions for high earners to 28% for couples with incomes of $250,000 or more or individuals with income of $200,000. The White House says limiting itemized deductions would shrink the deficit by $584 billion over 10 years.

The U.K. expects its measure (along with caps on business deductions) to result in $490 million in saved revenue.

“Giving shouldn’t mean you pay no tax,” according to the U.K. Treasury.

Yet charities say the plan would put a chill on philanthropic giving just as the U.K. government is trying to create a new culture of giving.

The “new culture of giving” is that the government forcibly takes what you own (by taxation), which in turn discourages acts of private charity (both by administrative limits and again by taxation--what you opt to donate will be taken instead).

And as the norm, governments spend these confiscated resources charitably on their pet projects (to the benefit of cronies and or to vote rich welfare dependents or for photo Op sensational projects).

This is not really new. It has been the nature of governments to undertake lawful plunder of the resources of the citizenry when so deemed politically expedient.

As the great Frédéric Bastiat wrote in The Law published in 1850

When does plunder cease, then? When it becomes more burdensome and more dangerous than labor. It is very evident that the proper aim of law is to oppose the fatal tendency to plunder with the powerful obstacle of collective force; that all its measures should be in favor of property, and against plunder.

But the law is made, generally, by one man, or by one class of men. And as law cannot exist without the sanction and the support of a preponderant force, it must finally place this force in the hands of those who legislate.

This inevitable phenomenon, combined with the fatal tendency that, we have said, exists in the heart of man, explains the almost universal perversion of law. It is easy to conceive that, instead of being a check upon injustice, it becomes its most invincible instrument.

It is easy to conceive that, according to the power of the legislator, it destroys for its own profit, and in different degrees amongst the rest of the community, personal independence by slavery, liberty by oppression, and property by plunder.

It is in the nature of men to rise against the injustice of which they are the victims. When, therefore, plunder is organized by law, for the profit of those who perpetrate it, all the plundered classes tend, either by peaceful or revolutionary means, to enter in some way into the manufacturing of laws. These classes, according to the degree of enlightenment at which they have arrived, may propose to themselves two very different ends, when they thus attempt the attainment of their political rights; either they may wish to put an end to lawful plunder, or they may desire to take part in it.

By preventing the private sector from engaging in philanthropic activities and by coercively taking their resources by law, who’s greedy now?

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