Sunday, January 9, 2011

It's Time to Start Taxing Non-profits

Don Surber suggests that we should start taxing non-profits. Considering that most non-profits inside the beltway lobby government, I think he makes a forceful case with this simple sentence: "I suggest we start calling these lobbying groups exactly what they are: tax-exempt lobbyists."


Margaret said...

"Most non-profits" are not lobbying groups in or outside the beltway. Non-profits fall into different categories which include lobbying firms, charities, and other organizations that are staffed by volunteers, those people who indeed, by their deeds, 'make the world go 'round.'

Some non-profits are supported by union dues, some by philanthropy (some are conservative, some are liberal - like George Soros), some by government grants, and others by 100% donation of interested citizens. Non-profits include churches, Salvation Army, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, battered women's shelters, both side of the abortion debate, neutral conveners for community issues, law firms, and the Boys Scouts of America.

The category is just too broad to paint with the brush 'most nonprofits' are lobbying firms. Try again, be more specific, learn where the problem you want to solve begins and ends, or you might destroy some truly beneficial organizations.

dsm said...


I thought I was being clear about "most non-profits inside the beltway", but perhaps I'm wrong even on that count. As your examples illustrate, it is a very broad category and you didn't even mention the National Football League or the Associated Press.

Nationally, churches and religious organizations probably make up the bulk of non-profits. FWIW, I wouldn't mind if they lost their tax-exempt status, but that will never happen. The silence of churches in Congressional races is bought with that special tax treatment. Politicians are too afraid of criticism from the pulpit, so they'll continue to exempt churches from taxes. In return, the churches wont endorse the opponents of our elected leaders because that would jeopardize the church's tax exempt status. It's a racket.

Yeah. I'm pretty cynical.