Friday, October 16, 2015

Woulda Coulda Shoulda

Another charity with less giving.   We have so many charities competing for so many donors who run the gamut from the very wealthy, who largely give to their own foundations or that of their peers, it is shuffleboard and all tax free.

Then we have the everyday charities that subsist on donations through fun runs, gimmicks, and varying ways to encourage donation.  The donate your clunker, your electronics are very popular and very corrupt

Minnesota: Car-Donor Foundation Is Accused of Giving Little to Charity
The Associated Press
October 14, 2015
State Attorney General Lori Swanson accused one of the nation’s largest vehicle-donation charities on Wednesday of putting little money toward its mission while steering millions to companies owned by the group’s founders.  
Ms. Swanson said about one-fifth of the Car Donation Foundation’s $108 million in gross revenue over a four-year period went toward charitable grants, and the rest was used for overhead, marketing and payments to two companies.  
The St. Paul-based foundation solicits vehicle donations under a Wheels for Wishes program that pledges the proceeds to local Make-A-Wish chapters to help children with cancer. The foundation itself issued a statement saying car donation programs were very expensive to administer and its charitable giving “meets or exceeds industry standards.” Investigators said the foundation would pay one of the founder’s for-profit companies for managing the charity’s operations and fund-raising, and another associated company for towing, scrapping or reselling donated vehicles.  
The two companies, owned by the foundation’s founders, William Bigley and Randy Heiligman, received $36 million from the foundation from 2011 to 2014, while $23 million went to the charitable mission over that time, Ms. Swanson said. The investigation was in a compliance report, which can be a precursor to litigation or other enforcement actions.

We have the giving pledge. When the rich give to the poor when they are dead.  I am sure that we can follow up on that.

We have donation to political PAC's. As we now know that largely that is run by about 175 families. And those who are not genetically gifted those with big bucks seek big access.

The Soaring Price of Political Access

Politicians busy soliciting ever-larger donations from eager millionaires epitomize the truth of a 12-year-old Supreme Court ruling on contribution limits: “Money, like water, will always find an outlet.”

This year, the political money is flowing more like overpriced wine, with the two national parties reported to be planning tenfold increases in the rates V.I.P. donors will be charged to secure the right to attend exclusive dinners and presidential convention forums with candidates and party leaders.
This means that top-tier Republican donors will pay $1.34 million per couple for the privilege of being treated as party insiders, while the Democratic Party will charge about $1.6 million, according to The Washington Post. Four years ago the most an individual could give to a national party was $30,800.

 This time, that top $1.34 million ticket for a couple in the Republican National Committee’s Presidential Trust tier, reserved for the “most elite R.N.C. investors,” promises “influence messaging and strategy” opportunities at exclusive party dinners and retreats, according to a description obtained by The Post. 

The prices for getting into the inner sanctum are rising because of loosened restrictions on political money from the courts and Congress. These ended caps on donor maximums and expanded the party organizations’ ability to amass more of the big money that has engulfed politics since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, in 2010. 

A result is that the national parties, which previously were constrained from raising outsized amounts of “soft money” by the 2002 McCain-Feingold law, are freer to compete with the new “super PACs.” These independent money gatherers have come to dominate presidential campaigns with their ability to raise unlimited funds. The traditional party machines are now making bids to hold their own in money and influence.

More big money can only leave less hope for voters concerned that the richest donors are buying ever more influence over politicians, with favoritism and corruption an inevitable result. And the money competition only intensifies.

The Democrats, fearing they are being left behind by the Republicans’ money raisers, are considering a far more aggressive use of super PACs, in House and Senate campaigns too, according to a recent report by Nicholas Confessore in The Times.

Top Democratic election lawyers asked the Federal Election Commission this month to approve dubious shortcuts around the law that Republican candidates already have been taking. One example is the “testing the waters” strategy that Jeb Bush used to raise tens of millions of dollars for his supposedly “independent” super PAC while pretending his candidacy was not a certainty.

The Democrats’ request shows just how far gone the whole campaign finance system is. The Republicans have rendered the election commission completely dysfunctional by blocking regulatory decisions and refusing to take action against improper practices. And now the Democrats are trying to get official approval of the very practices that eviscerate the law.

While Democrats led by Hillary Rodham Clinton have called for broad reforms of campaign fund-raising, Mrs. Clinton and party leaders say they will emulate Republican tactics in going after big money if that’s what it takes to compete. At what cost to democracy is the looming question for voters.

I am afraid that we need to end the tax deduction for charity over a certain amount. What would be that amount?  I think go with the idea that it should be tied to taxable income.  No more that 5% of any individual net worth.   That would include income, property ownership and other assorted means to determine individual worth tied to of course taxes, which much of it is tied up overseas and hidden in varying obfuscating fake companies and business which of course are also persons according the Supreme Court, so they are giving plenty under that decision.

We have the ability to be the most generous nation on earth but we are also the most duplicitous when it comes to our nation.  As I wrote about in "It's the Jobs Stupid" we have this grandiose notion of helping those abroad while those at home live in squalor.

The reality is that by having people work the charity that begins at home may be lessened when those who are not in need no longer need support from either private or public programs, that include free meals at schools, food stamps, Medicaid and then the charity programs that include Food Banks, Immunizations, and other "charity" that compensates those when jobs should and could.

Woulda, Shoulda Coulda.  Well when charities can't do it right why are they doing it all?

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