At stake is the $300 billion that Americans donate to nonprofits every year — and the $50 billion a year that tax deductions for charitable giving costs the government.
Both Republicans and Democrats say they want to maintain tax laws that encourage Americans to give money to nonprofit groups. But . . . there is growing bipartisan support for peeling back some of the special breaks for high-income households.
That prospect has spurred Ms. Aviv and other nonprofit leaders to meet with high-ranking Obama aides for what participants described as a passionate discussion — if one largely about arcane matters.
The charity participants laid out their fears about lost revenue and abrogated programs, even if donations only dip at the margins.
The White House . . . shared concerns about tax changes that might unduly cut into charitable giving. But officials said revenue had to come from somewhere.
On Capitol Hill on Wednesday, leaders from local nonprofits like churches, schools and homeless shelters visited lawmakers to deliver the same message.
“So much of this Washington debate is focused on high-end taxpayers,” said Steve Taylor, public policy counsel for the United Way Worldwide. “From our perspective, that’s not what it’s about. It’s about the people who will have less access to the services our charities provide.”
The Rev. Larry J. Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, agreed.
“If this benefit goes away, who’s going to pick up the slack?” he said. “Definitely not the government. It’s the only deduction that directly impacts community benefit. Cutting it — it defies the logic of cutting, I think.”
Charities said that little of what they were hearing behind closed doors allayed their fears that in a rush to cut long-term budget deficits Congress might also end up cutting charitable giving.
“There is no elected official who would rather say, ‘I had to cut your program’ than ‘There is a process that resulted in your program being cut,’ ” said Christopher W. Hansen, the president of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network. “But if you design a deduction cap the wrong way, you decimate the charitable sector.”
Both Democrats and Republicans have shown a willingness to roll back some deductions for high-income households, and more broadly to clean up the $1 trillion a year in tax breaks in the code. But how they might agree to do that remains unclear.
One option, floated by Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential candidate, is capping the total amount a household could deduct at perhaps $25,000 or $50,000.
Another proposal, backed by the White House, is limiting the value of the charitable-giving deduction to 28 percent, down from the current cap of 35 percent, for households with income above $250,000 a year. . . . 
“You cannot get the kind of revenue that you need simply from capping deductions or closing loopholes without taxing the heck out of the middle class — and that’s unacceptable for the president — or without ending the charitable deduction or doing other things that would never fly on Capitol Hill, for good economic as well as political reasons,” said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary.
This week, at least one person came away convinced of the White House’s logic.
“If nonprofit leaders don’t want changes to the charitable deduction, it is imperative that we get behind the president’s call for higher tax rates on the wealthy,” said Aaron Dorfman of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy in a statement.
“The majority of nonprofits know this is true,” Mr. Dorfman said, “and I urge the hundreds of nonprofit leaders who have traveled to our nation’s capital for visits with members of Congress today to clearly advocate for higher tax rates on the wealthy in addition to their advocacy in opposition to any changes to the charitable deduction.”"
Summing Up

We make all this too complicated. Here's my proposal. It's a KISS thing.

Let's just eliminate all deductions. Why should government and the special interests decide what programs to favor and who will pay more so government can subsidize them?

Just tax We the People's income based on whatever formula of income the government chooses and then we can write our individual checks for the amount owed based on the amount we earn.

If we took that approach, special interest lobbying would become a whole lot less and the games played by taxpayers seeking, and politicians granting, favors would come to an end.

As individuals we would still be able to give as much as we wanted to the church, YMCA and so forth. And we could buy whatever house we wanted and could afford to live in as well.

We just wouldn't be able to deduct from our income the interest on the mortgage and the amount of the donations that we made to the church, YMCA and  so forth.

Eliminating these deductions won't happen anytime soon, of course. But if that happened the current lobbying efforts by nonprofits would effectively cease.

And best of all, government officials wouldn't be deciding how or where We the People should donate or otherwise choose to spend our own money.

Other than divvying up our earnings between MOM and OPM in the form of taxes, this is.

KISS works for me every time.

Thanks. Bob.