Tax Issues Relating to Charitable Contributions and Organizations

Tax Issues Relating to Charitable Contributions and Organizations. Congressional Research Service. Jane G. Gravelle, Donald J. Marples, Molly F. Sherlock. September 19, 2019

The federal government supports the charitable sector by providing charitable organizations and donors with favorable tax treatment. Individuals itemizing deductions may claim a tax deduction for charitable contributions. Estates can make charitable bequests. Corporations can deduct charitable contributions before computing income taxes. Further, earnings on funds held by charitable organizations and used for a related charitable purpose are exempt from tax. In FY2019, projected tax subsidies for charities, not including the value of the tax exemption on earnings of charities or the estate tax deduction, totaled $51.8 billion. If investment income of nonprofits were taxed at the 35% corporate tax rate in 2015, revenue collected is estimated at $26.7 billion (this amount excludes religious organizations). The cost of deducting bequests on estates is estimated at $4 billion to $5 billion.

[PDF format, 52 pages].

Will America Embrace National Service?

Will America Embrace National Service? Brookings Institution. John Bridgeland and John J. DiIulio. October 10, 2019

America’s civic health is in significant decline. The percentage of Americans who say others can be trusted fell from 46 percent in 1972 to just 31 percent in 2016, with 36 percent of Whites and 17 percent of Blacks expressing such trust; and, in recent years, trust in the media, government, and the courts has fallen to historic lows.1 It is no surprise that communities are fraying in places like Charlottesville, Ferguson and Baltimore, and that America is not fulfilling its potential, as political institutions suffer from partisan gridlock, and the institutions that serve as checks on power and as guarantors of individual rights are increasingly under attack.  

One powerful idea to rebuild our civic bridges is universal national service—an expectation and opportunity that young people as they come of age perform a year or more of military or civilian national service. Such service would bring young people from different backgrounds, income levels, races, ethnicities, and areas of the country together in shared experiences to solve public challenges as they form their attitudes and habits early in life. Many would discover that they are leaders—the kind of leaders who could work across differences to get things done. There would be other positive effects.

This paper examines the case for national service, highlights the various ways in which that service could unfold, and concludes that large-scale national service is needed in America now.   [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 36 pages].

European Public Opinion Three Decades After the Fall of Communism

European Public Opinion Three Decades After the Fall of Communism. Pew Research Center. Richard Wike et al. October 15, 2019.

Most embrace democracy and the EU, but many worry about the political and economic future

Thirty years ago, a wave of optimism swept across Europe as walls and regimes fell, and long-oppressed publics embraced open societies, open markets and a more united Europe. Three decades later, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that few people in the former Eastern Bloc regret the monumental changes of 1989-1991. Yet, neither are they entirely content with their current political or economic circumstances. Indeed, like their Western European counterparts, substantial shares of Central and Eastern European citizens worry about the future on issues like inequality and the functioning of their political systems. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 189 pages].

Learning to Build Police-Community Trust

Learning to Build Police-Community Trust: Implementation Assessment Findings from the Evaluation of the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. Urban Institute. Jesse Jannetta et al. August 8, 2019

This research report documents the training, policy development, and reconciliation activities of the six cities that took part in the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, an effort to promote more equitable, just, and respectful policing practices and improve relationships and trust between law enforcement and community members. We found that the training component of the Initiative, which exposed officers to concepts of procedural justice and implicit bias, was implemented as intended and was well received by officers. In addition, the reconciliation framework used to improve relationships between police and communities was powerful and impactful, leading police departments to make changes to their policies to build trust and institutionalize improvements to practices. We also observed that local contexts affected the implementation process, with factors such as police leadership stability and the dynamics underlying relations between police, political leadership, and the community facilitating or impeding progress. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 112 pages].

Inequality as a Multidimensional Process

Inequality as a Multidimensional Process. Daedalus: Journal. Summer 2019.

Rising inequality is one of our most pressing social concerns. And it is not simply that some are advantaged while others are not, but that structures of inequality are self-reinforcing and cumulative; they become durable. The societal arrangements that in the past have produced more equal economic outcomes and social opportunities – such as expanded mass education, access to social citizenship and its benefits, and wealth redistribution – have often been attenuated and supplanted by processes that are instead inequality-inducing. This issue of Dædalus draws on a wide range of expertise to better understand and examine how economic conditions are linked, across time and levels of analysis, to other social, psychological, political, and cultural processes that can either counteract or reinforce durable inequalities. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].

The Public Face of Science Across the World: Optimism and Innovation in an Era of Reservations and Inequality

The Public Face of Science Across the World: Optimism and Innovation in an Era of Reservations and Inequality. American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Matthew C. Nisbet and Erik C. Nisbet. July 2019.

In recent years, scientists and civil society leaders have grown increasingly worried about a pervasive “antiscientific” culture in the United States. Despite such fears, several long-standing public opinion trends offer reassurance to those alarmed about the cultural status of science and technology today. Since the 1970s, polls have indicated that the great majority of Americans voice confidence in the leadership of the scientific community, believing optimistically that the societal benefits of their work outweigh any harms or potential moral trade-offs. In contrast, during the same period, public confidence in almost every other major institution has plummeted. Americans have expressed similarly strong support for government funding of scientific research, recognizing the value of scientific activity to society. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 56 pages].