I increased donations to charity in 2012. This deal limits my deductions so I, & many others, will likely donate less in 2013.—
Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) January 01, 2013
We don’t see anything controversial about Fleischer’s tweet. In fact, we suspect that virtually every economist on the planet would agree with the crux of his argument. If the tax deduction for charitable donations increases, charitable giving goes up (all other things equal). If the deduction is reduced, charitable deductions go down.
Moreover, we see nothing wrong with taking into account tax considerations when deciding how much to give to charity.
If Fleischer is wrong — that is, if people who give money to charity are never influenced by tax deductions — then why have a charitable deduction in the first place?
Why do groups like the United Way, the American Red Cross, and Lutheran Services in America oppose any change to the deduction if limiting it will have no effect on charitable giving?
Unfortunately, many liberals aren’t interested in economics (or logic). Rather than acknowledge the truth in what Fleischer said, they responded with their usual vitriol:
Fleischer tried to explain himself. If he can’t deduct his charitable contributions, he’ll have to pay higher taxes and will therefore have less money to give away:
But that didn’t help. In fact, it only made matters worse.
Fleischer is guilty of only one mistake: He tried to explain economics to liberals. He’ll know better next time.