The increase/decrease proposal will thus shift significant funds from charities chosen by taxpayers to government-chosen charities that are politically connected (or at least politically correct). Charities that want to share in the increased government largesse will need to ensure that their goals and activities are the ones the government wants to support. Civil society is weakened and government empowered.
Taxpayers who might otherwise choose to opt out of the 39.6 percent tax — by increasing contributions to charitable, educational, and religious institutions they want to support — will thus find that exit strategy blocked by the 28 percent deduction limit. Any increased contributions will necessitate an 11.6 percent toll charge to be paid to the government along with the contribution.
Audacious, no? If you are a taxpayer and think you can choose to support worthwhile charities instead of paying more money to the government, Obama is here to tell you: no, you can’t. If you are a charity and think that, as a private institution with private support, the government cannot affect the direction of your activities, Obama also has a response: yes, we can.
– The Obama Double Tax Whammy (Rochester Conservative)
Okay, I lied. I’m posting before I go to NJ. I hadn’t planned on it, but this one got me riled. You know, that state that I get in where I’m nearly twitching? One of these days someone’s going to think I’ve contracted rabies and they’ll take me out and shoot me. I digress.
One of the things I found ironic was that I was becoming more involved in the realm of grassroots politics shortly after I started taking a course via the SUNY Learning Network entitled Community Organization. Fascinating stuff. One of the requirements is that each student work on an individual project. Mine focuses on food security in a place-based/relational setting. This basically means that I’m focusing on trying to raise awareness for food security via my church. What that will end up looking like, I am not sure. It’s still in the making-contacts-and-figuring-out-strengths stage (and no, that is not the technical term for it, but when have I ever been technical? Well, okay, other than those times?). Some ideas include holding informal “classes” or “meetings” where I have local knowledgeable folks come in an speak on ways to garden, the merits of backyard chickens for eggs and meat, or having a fruit tree. Another idea someone in our congregation had was to plant a church garden (we have around fifty-five acres surrounded by farm land, see) to benefit the congregation and the community. I still have to look into the legalities of adding produce or home-canned goods to the food pantry, though.
So, that was my planned individual project. Now here I find myself in th midst of the Tea Party hullaballoo, and I realize: well, technically this is grassroots activism, another form of community organization. Well, I’ll be darned! It just sorta happened.
And now, the two connect. I read Rochester Conservative’s charming little summary of what Obama plans to do in regards to charitable giving and taxes and I see the issue of food security in yet another light. Especially when you take a peek at what’s happening to Venezuela’s food system. Obama and his cronies are looking for government dependence on your part. Forget the charities – he’s taxing them out, as it were! Never you mind the food insecurity, Government will take care you. It’s what they’re there for, right?
I’d like to challenge you here, folks. Don’t just hold up signs in city streets. Get a little dirt under your fingernails. It can be done. Just look at the Little Homestead in the City, which produces six thousand pounds of food annually. On 1/10th of an acre. Yeah. You read that right. The stats are on the left sidebar of their page. Go read up at Freedom Gardens, “an online social community of gardening enthusiasts who are fed up with foreign oil, frequent food miles and high food prices.” There are plenty of people who are willing to help you get started.
Never organized a rally before? People are doing it now.
Never gardened before? People are doing it now.
Matt Mayer published a good article yesterday that asks what a home garden is worth. Folks, it’s about far more than the money (though he certainly takes the time to address that). It’s about taking back liberty. It’s about looking to the government and saying, “I don’t need you to bail out my neighbor’s mortgage. I don’t need you to tell me what charity to donate to. I don’t need you to tell me what medical procedures to have. And I don’t need you to feed me.”
Over at Hen and Harvest, they’ve got a good post I just came across. It’s a challenge.
For all his charisma and leadership, Barack Obama can’t fix this problem. Tom Vilsack won’t fix it either. Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver and Wendell Berry can’t even fix it. Fixing it is up to me, and you ,and anyone else we can influence.
This is why we are challenging you, right now, to turn your passion into something bigger.
It’s no secret that food pantries all over the country are struggling right now. As the economy falters, soup kitchens, shelters, and other under-the-safety-net entities are getting fewer donations and more clients every day. But… If we were to collectively donate ten percent of our harvest to our nearest food banks, soup kitchens, or other appropriate organizations, think of all the positive benefits. The people with the worst access to healthy food would at least get a little delicious, fresh, local produce. Kids whose only fault has been bad luck will get nutrition from something other than a box. Chances are very high that we’d get to meet some wonderful, dedicated people. We’d have one more excuse to get dirt under our fingernails and sunshine on our faces. And our gardens might even have fewer weeds if we’re doing it for a cause, rather than just killing time on the weekends.
– Garden Challenge! (Hen and Harvest)
Of course, I wouldn’t have made the statement about Obama’s charisma and leadership. Arrogant confidence, perhaps, but … our political stances aside, Edson makes a good point, especially in light of what Obama is doing to tax the charities. Fight back. Of course, there are many of us – myself included – who don’t have a garden, but who are tempted to start one this year. To us, Edson says,
We’re challenging you to give at least one tenth of your produce to some worthy cause. If you can’t find a charity or other appropriate organization, see if a school cafeteria can use it. Or even your neighbors. Maybe it’ll inspire them to start a garden of their own. Food security is food security. And if the economy keeps going down the path it’s on now, food security is going to become more important all the time.
If you’ve never grown a garden before, we’d suggest you not worry about donating this year, and just get your hands dirty. Learn from the rest of us, and aim for donating next year. And if you get a bumper crop of something the first time out, find it a good home.
– Garden Challenge! (Hen and Harvest)
Another good resource is Sharon Astyk over at Casaubon’s Book. Again, I don’t agree on the political spectrum, but when it comes to food security, I believe she’s spot on.
So, folks, what’s it going to be? Are you willing to do more than dump a little tea? Are you willing to start caring about where your food comes from, and where it’s going? Are you willing to tell Obama and his friends that we don’t need the government to wipe our noses for us? Are you willing to replace mowing that nicely-mowed suburbanite lawn with something a little more useful? Something that will leave a little dirt under your fingernails?
Then let’s do it.