US philanthropy’s response to Obama’s tax proposal

Resource type: News

Alliance Magazine |

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by Gara LaMarche


A new administration in Washington seems determined to narrow the gap between rich and poor, which has widened in recent years, and to begin to strengthen the fraying social safety net by pressing for national health care — a goal that has eluded presidents since Harry Truman. It is a heady time, but the changes have exposed some uncomfortable truths about parts of the US non-profit sector.


If governments are to profice health and economic security for all citizens, they have to be able to pay for it. In the president’s budget, some of this would come from savings in other areas. Whether this comes from ending wasteful Pentagon spending, curbing unnecessary agricultural subsidies, or ending monopolies for firms that offer student loans, there has been a predictable outcry from the special interests involved. But it is not possible to expand health care without raising revenue, and here I have concerns about how the leading voices of American philanthropy have been raised — or, for that matter, silent.


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