The DVNF Charity has been investigated by CNN. The charity is ostensibly to provide to veterans and disabled veterans, but CNN's near 2 year investigation has not been able to find any legitimate charitable gifts / money given to that cause by this ostensible charity.
- I'm vehemently opposed to the tax benefits provided for charitable contributions.
- I am vehemently opposed to charitable foundations and entities of all kinds (possible exception may be some environmental charities --- some that purchase private property to keep in open and public space... but even those I'm cautious about).
I oppose charitable foundations and entities because they do not really provide charity at all. What they do is take funds from those providing them to the charity, then pay the administrative costs of running the charity (rents, leases, equipment, personnel salaries/wages, marketing, advertising, etc. ), then pay the vendors and person's and groups and business's that actually provide what the charity is supposed to be providing to the charitable cause. That's not what I consider to be charity... that's simply a process of collection and distribution. If it were actually a charity, then all costs of running the charity, and of providing the end services/goods, etc. would be provided with no compensation to anybody. For example, in charitable health care services, the drugs would be provided free of charge by the pharmaceutical co., the doctor, nurses, lab costs, etc would be provided free of charge by the respective providers.
I oppose the tax benefits provided to charitable institutions and those giving to the charities. The tax benefits are extremely regressive... unless the charitable value exceeds some percentage of gross income there's no tax advantage at all... so that dominantly only the most affluent get the tax advantages provided. Moreover, and a major reason why I'm opposed to the tax advantages provided is that there is virtually no assurance that a charity isn't lining it's own pockets and those of it's benefactors. Even though the charity is required to file federal (perhaps state) form of some kind that supposedly and ostensibly discloses the costs and expenses being taken to run the charity there is no oversight to assure these disclosures are legitimate and / or not self serving to those running the charity or it's "benefactor's" --- e.g. the lease for the building or space occupied by the charity may be owned by one of or group of administrators running the charity... for lease or rental price that far exceeds the actual market value. Moreover, there is no assurance that the charitable result ostensibly passed on to the end person / group is actually passed on to them as disclosed. There is also no one responsible to determine what a "fair" salary is for the charity's executives, or what kind of offices or perks they should be entitled to... the charitable givers (the source of funds) has no say in this.
In real effect public taxes pay (by the tax revenue lost by the charitable contribution) for religious institutions (classified as charitable organization)... a direct support of religion by the federal gov't (and state's as well). They pay for so called "charities" that predominantly exist to support a specific political agenda.
One can say and most often do say "you can't penalize charities because of a few bad apples" or words to that effect... or "there will always be some abuses", etc. I don't disagree... there will always be abuses... how many and to what extent is wide open though without close monitoring and enforcement.
What are the alternatives to charitable giving with tax advantage in so giving? There are a zillion alternatives. For one, eliminate all tax implications from charitable giving. What!!! un-American you say? Eliminating the tax advantage would disincentives charitable giving, depriving the charities of their source of funds... or most of them.... thus depriving those who are the ostensible recipients of the charity from the services or goods provided to them.... leaving more poor people without food, housing, clothes, furniture, health care, etc. ... and religious institutions without churches, pastors/preachers, etc. Well... that's just testament to the fact that the charitable giving isn't really charitable at all then is it? It's giving to get something for having given... a pecuniary transaction... and that's not charity.
For another, and perhaps more importantly from my point of view, the services provided by charities are in essence supposed to be provided to those in greatest need & with the least means ... or for whole publics' benefit... keyword, "public" which means the entire population... not favoring one group or another depending on the personal views & opinions of those with sufficient affluence to provide to the charitable organizations of their own choice.... and then only or predominantly because they get a tax advantage from it.
For another reason one must ask why a charitable organization exists in the first place? What reason for them at all? Any of them? The answer is that they only exist because the public doesn't provide for those most in need and with the least means, or doesn't want to fund some things that are for the whole public's benefit. This is to say in other words that the poorer segments of our society, and those in the greatest need, and those deserving of "charity" aren't being provided for by the general public through it's gov'ts (federal, state, local). In real terms this means that voters, in general, don't believe it's the general public's obligation and responsibility to provide for those its society who are in the greatest need and with the least means, or to provide for the general public good (open environmental space). Why doesn't the general public believe it's gov'ts obligation and responsibility in this regard? ... simply because they don't want to pay more in taxes (those with the greatest means don't want to provide for those with the least). In other words, providing for those with the greatest need and least means isn't societies responsibility. Why are religious organizations considered "charitable institutions" and tax exempt?
Without far greater oversight and enforcement, even far tighter regulations defining what a "charitable" organization is, the public is paying by depriving the gov't the tax revenues which could otherwise be used to provide for true support for those with the least means and greatest need and for the general public good.... rather than as it is for so called charities which provide for favorite organizations. The American Cancer Institute and other such "charities"... why isn't cancer research and application of benefits to cancer patients that can't afford the costs of treatments treatments being provided by our taxes?... with direct oversight, directed use of tax funds for the greatest benefit (as opposed to those "cancer treatment centers" that offer "hope" with no real benefit at all to those dying of cancer, just for example). Why should the American Cancer institute, just for one example, pay researchers for cancer research efforts, and then sell the patented results of that research to the drug company's that then charge purchasers exorbitant profits. Shouldn't that publicly funded (by tax revenue loss of charitable contributions) patented research result be in the public domain? If not, why not?
Anyway, the issue related to the DVNF charity isn't an isolated case. It's just one that's been brought to the attention of the national media... and only because of that, to the congress to "investigate". Why is it congress that is investigating a single charity? Why isn't there an enforcement unit of the gov't for this? If there is (a gov't enforcement unit), then why did it require a news organization to lead a two year old investigation??