It is the end of the year and many organizations classified as "charities" according to the tax code of the United States are suggesting that people of good financial means (i.e. wealthy people) make a donation or two or three in order to get a tax write-off for the year under the tax code that will allow them to pay less taxes. This is a common practice targeted at wealthy people that will allow those wealthy people to position themselves into a lower percentage tax bracket and consequently increase their personal net income.
Are these wealthy people really being charitable? Would they make the same "charitable" contribution if they could not take that tax write-off? I think not. To me, when an individual makes a "charitable" contribution in order to get a tax deduction, that is not charity; it is a financial decision intended to increase the person's monetary wealth.
IMHO, another charity practice that is really not charity involves the business world.
I am constantly amazed that people express appreciation to corporate entities, such as financial institutions, petroleum companies, grocery chain stores, retail chain stores, computer and other technology businesses, public utility companies, hospitals, etc., etc., etc. for charitable contributions.
These business interests participate in what is known as corporate giving. When business entities participate in corporate giving, they really are not being charitable as many people mistakenly believe. Reality check: these so-called charitable contributions are actually sound business decisions. Simply put, the practice is a business manuveur intended to increase profits and/or enhance a positive public image via public relations.
I mean come on, people: WAKE UP!!
Do you really think the corporate world would donate money out of the business coffers if it could not take a tax write-off and/or pass on the cost of the "charitable" contribution to the unsuspecting, gullible public who is the customer or the consumer that has no say in the matter. I think not!
It is you and I who really pay for all these charitable contributions.
We pay for them in at least two different ways.
One: Our individual tax rates are what they are because of the tax loopholes involving the above-referenced donations to "charity" by the wealthy individuals and by corporations. If those tax breaks were not allowed, those who I have mentioned would pay their fair share of taxes and the rest of us would actually pay less in taxes. Take away those tax credits, deductions, and write-offs; and, we would not be in the tax bracket we are in. The reason we are paying the amount of taxes that we are paying is because the government needs to make up the difference in what would otherwise be lost revenues from the tax breaks given the wealthy and the corporations.
Did you follow that? Think about it.
Government at all levels expects a certain level of revenue. That revenue must come from somewhere. If the governmental entity does not receive the "required" revenue from one sector of taxpayers, it will get that revenue from other sectors of the taxpaying public, i.e. middle class Americans who are on the wrong side of the income gap, those of us who are not wealthy.
Two: Whatever amounts of "charitable donations" cannot be written off on corporate business tax returns are passed on to the consumer/customer in the form of increased prices and fees.
Now, back to the main topic - Charity.
Charity is freely given by an individual to those in need out of an act of caring, kindness, and love.
So --- When is charity not charity?
Simply put, charity is not charity when it is given with the expectation of something in return.