With the “fiscal cliff” looming, Washington is looking under every rock for new forms of “revenue.”
Nothing appears sacred, not even mortgage and charitable deductions, which some are recasting as “loopholes.” Ending the mortgage deduction when the housing market is finally showing signs of recovery would be like giving a cancer patient strychnine to make him feel better.
Even worse would be ending the charitable deduction, for the simple reason that this deduction encourages private-sector benevolence, which the federal government under President Obama treats as pesky competition.
As government grows, the private sector wanes, a situation created by the decline of strong families and abetted by progressive programs designed to make families irrelevant.
When it comes to serving the needy, there are two basic approaches. The first, inspired by Jesus Christ and required in the Old Testament, is sacrificial giving of oneself. This has been the cornerstone of American charity since the nation’s founding, and it remains the most effective way to assist the poor.
The diametrically opposite approach is socialism, in which income is forcibly seized and then redistributed to groups and individuals favored by government officials. Socialism is rooted in the formula from Karl Marx — “From each, according to his abilities; to each, according to his needs.”