On the "Imagine" Fund…

How best do we provide for that which we support? That is really the question which is asked when someone decides to create a “non profit” fund, or organization designed to “help” or “assist” a particular group or cause. Chetly Zarko notes that it might be legal, but then ponders the benefit of the Imagine Fund and rightly suggests it has little to do with real need, but might actually be a part of an agenda promoting “alternate lifestyles” or religion, as well as attempting to circumvent proposal 2.

OK, so where si the beef? Why would that be a problem? If someone wishes to give to a group which segregates people into their particular belief sets, or based on racial preference, why would they not be able to do so? ohh wait. there is a catch… It is taxpayer funded. <Insert record scratch here> …WHAT??

Where do you draw that conclusion Mr. Gillman?

Well, I guess us simple folk have a different way of looking at things.. Lets take a look at Michigan law.

DEFINITION OF NONPROFIT CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION
To be considered a nonprofit charitable organization, an organization must be both “nonprofit” and “charitable’.
An organization is “nonprofit” if 1) it is organized and operated for purposes other than making gains or profits for itself or its members, and 2) it cannot distribute any gains or profits to itself or its members.
An organization is “charitable” if it is organized and operated for charitable purposes.

ok so it is a non profit, charitable organization. How does that make it taxpayer funded?

To answer that, let us look into our tax returns. There is a reason we save our women’s resource center receipts, Leukemia society thank yous and Salvation Army donation confirmations. We write off income so as to not pay taxes on those amounts. Certainly our giving isn’t driven by the receipts alone, but it DOES have an effect on the giving and “leverages” the amount given by reducing the tax liability of the giver for supporting that cause.

If giving to a non profit reduces the tax liability… it has the non arguable effect of lowering the net revenue the government collects. It “costs” the government, and therefore is taxpayer funded, as there are others who eventually have to make up for that revenue in other areas of the tax collection process.

We voted to end that. MCRI was an end to funding on a public scale the preferences of color race, or sex. So as for legality? Chetly Zarko should most often be regarded as correct in his assessments on these matters. However, in this I am not as sure as Mr. Zarko that it passes the smell test.

5 comments for “On the "Imagine" Fund…

  1. August 22, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    MCRI explicitly only applies to governmental entities by definition, not to “funding on a public scale” which is less direct, although, theoretically, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, IF given a plain language reading and application, because the CRA prohibited preferences and discrimination by those engaged in commerce (plausible under the interstate commerce clause). The federal Equal Protection Clause also only applies to government directly, not private actors (which are protected by the clause, not subject to it).

    Radical idea alert!

    You have identified a bigger thread here. The fact that non-profits draw public resources through the tax break their donors are given. That suggests a possibility – why even allow the structure known as a non-profit? Why not ban the whole idea (of course, if only one state did this, it would be a unilateral disarmament, so the idea would only work starting with dismantling the federal 501c3. It’s not like charity didn’t exist before the entity form known as a “non-profit”, or that people would not be charitable without them using post-tax dollars (sure, there’d be less use of the form as a tax shelter or place for the wealthy to engage in social engineering). The disincentive to charity is bigger government (taking over “welfare”) and more taxes (take more and I simply have less to give), not the lack of or presence of a mild rebate if you do give. The problem is non-profits are now over a million non-profits, the “sector” is entrenched and a special interest unto itself (There’s a non-profit called the Non-profit Sector which analyzes non-profits, I believe). It’s not going to happen politically, and the law treats non-profits legally as private entities.

    But your point raises the question – why have non-profits of any type. That’d be the truly non-preferential system – no preferences to swim clubs or by race or by any criteria.

    Given that isn’t realistic, I have proposed a sort-of-FOIA for non-profits. They already have to show their IRS filings upon request, but if you want to be a non-profit with tax-exempt status, it seems reasonable to have a level of transparency similar to the government (FOIA does allow government to recover costs for producing records from the requestor, perhaps in the case of non-profits you’d strengthen the cost-recovery provisions so the NP’s were absorbing a hit for compliance).

    Finally, we certainly agree on the lack of wisdom of even private, or in this case quasi-private inappropriately defined-as-private entities, engaging in racial, gender, or other preferences based on the immutable characteristics of individuals.

  2. jgillman
    August 22, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Thanks Chetly, I knew I could count on a follow up!

  3. NoviDemocrat
    August 22, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Chetly and his fellow Republicons are arguing that the money donated to churches and other non-profits are actually belong to the government? Will you be endorsing socialized health care next? Bizarre! Chetly also endorses the idea of forcing non-profits to subject themselves to government oversight. Big Brother Republiconism runs amuck! The only upside to this is that we would finally be able to see who’s funding all of the phony Republicon astro-turf operations.

  4. jgillman
    August 23, 2008 at 1:43 am

    I think as usual, you miss the point. Rant and rave all you like.. you have free reign.

    Chetly didn’t entirely agree with my assertion anyhow. Feel free to read it again.

  5. August 25, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    Read my response to you on, if I remember, RM.

    I actually endorse the idea not of “forcing non-profits to subject themselves to government oversight,” but rather to force non-profits to be subject to PUBLIC oversight. That’s a huge difference.

    Regardless, I can’t believe you can write the crapola you write with a straight face. You are fundamentally & intellectually dishonest. You twist words and use gross rhetoric as if you were competing to be a party hack.

    Ironically, you admit that my proposal is fundamentally fair in that it would allow you to see “who’s funding all of the phony Republican Republican astro-turf operations.”
    It would allow everyone to see any astro-turf op (if it used pre-tax money) – it seems like I’m better at genuine bi-partisan reform than RMGN. Hmm.

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