Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein's column this week is a defense of the charitable tax deduction:
It is tempting to think that the limitations on deductions will hurt the rich by cutting back on their deductions. But the burden will fall heavily on the recipients of charitable support, for as the price of making a charitable gift rises (anywhere from 30 to 100 percent), the level of charitable giving will decline. Hurt in the shuffle are, of course, the low-income beneficiaries of charity….
Why then would the government take steps to cut back on charitable giving? The most obvious explanation is both insidious and dangerous. It is to shrink the size of its main competitors in the private sector in order to increase the dependence of ordinary people on the federal government.
Another advantage of the charitable deduction is that it implements the Hayekian imperative of decentralized control over social resources.