The Year End Rush & The January Hangover

Glenn Koenen

The Thursday before Thanksgiving I watched the dawn from the center lane of Bowles Avenue at Highway 141: Old Newsboys Day.

The next day I noticed Toys For Tots banners in front of a bank on Telegraph Road.

Very early that Saturday morning I put out a bag of food for the Boy Scouts’ drive.

And, on multiple days I’ve pushed bills into the Salvation Army kettles in front of my favorite grocer.

As always happens, many charities will collect up to half their 2017 revenue in the last 61 days of this year. For some, as much as 12% of all their money will appear in the last three days of 2017! [ ]

Oh, the joy in an executive director’s heart when the mail arrives in December! The checks in those envelopes mean needed services delivered in the new year. The happy days of thick bank deposits warms the heart and lowers blood pressure in charity leaders.

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday when conscientious folks are strongly encouraged to use their computer skills (and credit cards) to support groups feeding the hungry and in many other ways providing help and hope. Please give generously tomorrow and throughout this Holiday Season.

You see, 2018 promises a lot of problems, including…

❶ Tax Reform discouraging donations.
A higher Standard Deduction means more taxpayers won’t be itemizing their deductions – offering many less incentive to be generous. On top of that, ending the Inheritance Tax gives the richest Americans less reason to be charitable. That’s important, even to community charities. (The largest checks Circle ever received in my 17 years there came from the estate of a woman who despised paying taxes.) For high-income folk here in Missouri it currently only costs them about 55¢ to give a $1.00 to charity. It 2018 their cost may rise to 63¢. I expect that change to reduce generosity too.
By The Way, don’t go GOP and call it The Death Tax. Dead people don’t pay taxes. Only living people sharing windfalls in excess of $6,000,000.00 get the Inheritance Tax deducted from their checks.

❷ Staggering cuts to government benefit programs.
Guess how Washington plans to offset lost tax revenue? As I’ve noted, $1,000,000,000,000.00 gets amputated from Medicaid; $500,000,000,000.00 from Medicare; $130,000,000,000.00 from food stamps; a million housing vouchers get torn-up; heating assistance for seniors and the disabled ends, and, well, basically the federal government shoves the sick, the old, the struggling into the lobbies of charities to beg for help.

❸ A new “Let Them Eat Cake” era.
All those crazy charts showing the absurd portion of the tax cuts going to the top 1% or even 1/10th of 1%? Believe them. Even more than the tax cuts of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, the Trump proposal makes the rich richer by taking away money and services from the middle class, working class and poor American families. That is the goal of the current effort, to reduce taxes on those most able to pay. Need a new kidney after you retire? Sell a grandkid.

Analysis of the House Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

In other words, next year charities will need your help more than ever. Don’t count on the government, don’t expect the rich to chip-in much more. It’s up to us good people.

Submitted by Glenn Koenen, WCD Member

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