Donate selflessly, not just for lower taxes

Tax changes signed into law by President Donald Trump just before Christmas may be detrimental to many charitable organizations, some analysts say. It shouldn’t be, but whether it will be is up to all of us Americans.

If you make contributions to recognized charities, you may use them as a deduction to lessen your income tax bill. There had been some concern Congress would eliminate that deduction, which costs the Treasury an estimated $41.5 billion a year. But the new law keeps the charitable giving deduction in place.

The remaining concern is that for those using the new $24,000 standard deduction for married couples, there is no reason to resort to any itemized deductions. Some people may reduce charitable giving because it no longer helps them. Or so say some analysts.

No doubt that will happen in some situations. But concluding that it will be a major problem assumes most charitable giving is done not out of a motive to help worthy causes, but for purely selfish reasons.

We believe Americans are better than that. We are confident the overwhelming majority of charitable giving is out of the goodness of donors’ hearts, not merely to save them money at tax time.

Here’s hoping our theory is proved right by events, starting early this year.

If you know of a need and can help fill it, please do by making a donation to a worthy cause — as soon as possible.