One estimate says the proposed deduction reduction would result in only a 2.1% decrease in giving—an encouraging figure that indicates there aren't that many false givers out there.
Not that any of this matters much to folks at the other end of the tax-bracket spectrum. If you're making under $30K, deductions don't do much for your bottom line. And even without big deduction incentives, the lowest fifth of wage earners in America hand out a larger percentage of their income than do the members of any other income bracket:
Yes, yes, these are relative figures, no absolute. 2.1% of $159K is a lot more than 4.3% of $11K. But the rich guy giving 2% also has a lot more cash left in his pocket after his charitable deed than the poor guy giving 4%. And remember, the poor guy probably isn't bothering to itemize (or to have his accountant itemize) every nickel-dimey Sunday tithe to get 36% back from the IRS.
American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks says the poor probably give more because more of them go to church. (Brooks does have a book to sell.) Others suggest that poor folks just hang around with more folks who need help.
Pastor Coletta Jones, who ministers to a largely low-income tithing congregation in southeast Washington, The Rock Christian Church, thinks that poor people give more because they ask for less for themselves.
"When you have just a little, you're thankful for what you have," Jones said, "but with every step you take up the ladder of success, the money clouds your mind and gets you into a state of never being satisfied" [Frank Greve, "America's Poor Are Its Most Generous Givers," McClatchy Newspapers, 2009.05.19].
Just something to think about as you head to the office today.