First there was an inter Mormon squabble, when Harry Reid claimed that Mitt Romney paid no taxes.

So now the taxes are released, and it is found that Romney “only” paid 20 percent of his income to the IRS, and the reason for the low rate was that he gave a huge portion of his income to charity. Quelle horrors! presumably much of his charity donations went to his church.

Call the IRS! Isn’t giving money to churches and church related charities a violation of the wall between church and state?

Well, no. Private charity giving has long been part of the American landscape, and those who are hyperventillating over Romney as a tax cheat  because he gives a lot to charity need to check their history LINK.

Private groups, including churches, fraternal organizations and private charities, have long been at the forefront of giving a hands up to the local poor. Unlike the government 2000 miles away in Washington, (or in the days of horse and buggies, 100 miles away by dirt road) the local groups are more aware of who needs what, and much faster at getting them help without having to wade through a river of red tape and regulations.

Anyone living in small town America knows about the tradition of small churches caring for each other, although it is rarely mentioned in the news. And although larger institutions, like the LDS and Catholics, are better known for their organized welfare at systems and charitable works, their work too is usually ignored by the press.

So, traditionally, charities, both churches and non church non profits groups, were exempt from taxes.

But where did the deduction for private individuals start? LINK

Since 1917, individual federal taxpayers have been allowed to deduct gifts to charitable and certain other nonprofit organizations. Such organizations (hereafter called “charitable”) were already exempt from the income tax. A charitable deduction extended the benefits of exemption to individual taxpayers, so that income donated to charitable organizations was exempted from all levels of income taxation.

The deduction was intended to subsidize the activities of private organizations that provide viable alternatives to direct government programs.

So Romney’s charitable donations should not be news.

One trivia question about rich folks who don’t pay taxes ignore how one rich heiress (and step cousin of Jackie Kennedy Onassis) actually had congress pass a bill to lower her tax payments. Full story here.

Katharine’s charities outstripped her considerable fortune, especially after the introduction of the federal income tax, which at one point was gobbling up a third of her income. In a move that would be hard to imagine with today’s Alternative Minimum Tax, Congress in 1924 passed a bill providing that any person who had given at least 90 percent of their income to charity for the preceding 10 years would be exempt from federal taxes. The bill was widely understood to include no one but Katharine Drexel.

And Mother Katherine’s work setting up Native American and black schools in the days before integration is another untold story in American history.

So we should rejoice at the vigorous private sector that does much of America’s charity, and encourage it to do more, right?

Well, no.

Actually, the Obama administration has by fiat added a regulation to Obamacare that was never voted on by Congress. This “rule”, made by unelected HHS “experts” will force charities to pay a huge tax penalty under Obamacare regulations if Catholic run non profit organizations won’t fund contraception/abortion pills to their employees.

So why do such a stupid thing? Because the president’s unilateral decision to fund these controversial items is the lynchpin of his reelection campaign (think I am exaggerating? Didn’t you watch the convention?).

As Drudge says, developing…

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