This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

When Prosperity Becomes the Enemy of Charity

For Democrats, it's institutional giving, be it the government itself or public and private nonprofits. Take the money out of my taxes, they say, and put it where it does the most good. Let me make an annual pre-tax contribution to one or two nonprofits, according to a plan drawn up by my accountant. The checks go out routinely. The less they have to think about it, the better.

For both, the mistake is obvious: Charity is meted by a labor-saving device. Set the thing in motion, retreat to the den or the walled garden. Others handle the work, permitting us to focus on ourselves. A time of need arrives, and our response is not to rush out to help, but to protect the lifestyle of detachment.

Take a look at this New York Times article last weekend on the current spending spree in specialty art products for the wealthiest. In light of the drop in charitable spending overall, the trend makes those wealthy customers appear unimaginably selfish -- the oblivious Marie Antoinettes of the modern age.

What's happening there is the wealthiest are willing to buy art tailored made for themselves -- the gaudiest, most tasteless Trump Tower art -- as long as it is expensive, boosting their status and addressing a rare type of personal, childish greed that most Americans will never know and our society once roundly condemned.

Meanwhile, established, cherished cultural institutions all over the country are going belly up as donations and subscriptions go over a cliff.

We have forgotten obvious truths: The charitable deduction is not the reason we give to charity. Ownership is not the reason we support the arts.

Your current tax burden does not balance against the needs of the charities you've chosen to give to in the past. Your personal finances are, I'm sure, in a terrible state -- I'm sorry to hear it. So are everyone else's. They need your help now more than ever.

Where are the wealthy donors who will say, I will let my investments, my taxes, take a hit, so that the organizations I support can survive?

When times are hard for everyone, charitable donations should go up.

--Written by Carlton Wilkinson in Asbury Park.

3 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
AAPL $124.24 0.00%
FB $83.01 0.00%
GOOG $555.17 0.00%
TSLA $190.41 0.00%
YHOO $44.47 0.00%

Markets

DOW 17,678.23 -40.31 -0.23%
S&P 500 2,056.15 -4.90 -0.24%
NASDAQ 4,863.3620 -13.1570 -0.27%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs