August 29, 2011; Source: Wall Street Journal | Travel guru and PBS mainstay Rick Steves says he is giving the $1 million he will be saving as a result of the extended Bush tax cuts to charity, and he believes that others should do the same. “Over the last decade, my tax burden has decreased even as public funding for important local programs and institutions has been decimated—a trend I find alarming,” he said in a written statement. “I see it as a civic duty for businessmen like me, who’ve directly benefited from our vibrant communities to do our fair share,” he wrote.
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Steves is not the only advocate of such a strategy—a group of professors from Cornell and Yale suggested the same idea earlier this year and actually set up a website, giveitbackforjobs.com (complete with a handy-dandy tax-cut calculator), to encourage folks to give their tax cuts to charity. “When the Bush administration took power in 2001, it enacted massive tax cuts that disproportionately benefited the wealthiest Americans,” the professors state on their site. “These beneficiaries represented the very segment of American society that had already seen their share of national income balloon over the prior generation.” The professors suggest that people “should give what they can afford—in large amounts or small—back to the public, by supporting organizations that promote fairness and economic growth.”—Ruth McCambridge