The Federal End Run Targeting Philanthropy

The Federal End Run Targeting Philanthropy

This past September, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service pulled an end run on the philanthropy sector by quietly proposing that charities file a new “information return” to substantiate contributions. Naturally, as all such test missiles go, the new return would be voluntary, not mandatory and only apply to gifts of $250 or more. But here is the wolf hiding under sheepskin. The IRS would be provided the name, address and social security number of each donor. The IRS says that the new form actually helps charities by providing an alternate way to confirm gifts […]

Curbing Our Enthusiasim

I am a pack rat. I save interesting articles. I was catching up on my reading and came across a review in The Economist (May 22, 2010) of a new book written by Oren Harman titled “The Price of Altruism: George Price and the Search for the Origins of Kindness” in which the scientific explanation for altruism is discussed. Why should people be kind to strangers? It seems that George Price, an American economist, studied the question and developed a mathematical formula (now known in economics as the “Price Equation”) describing how characteristics of altruism can prove disadvantageous to the […]