Michael Medved in The Wall Street Journal on the myth of Romney's non-electability Some Republicans criticize Mitt Romney as not only insufficiently conservative but also unelectable against Barack Obama. "This analysis, endlessly recycled on the right, relies on groundless assumptions about recent political history," Medved writes. The first myth they use is that John McCain lost because real conservatives stayed home on election day, but Medved uses polls to show that it was John McCain's performance among moderates that lost him the election. Secondly, they argue that Republican elites ignore the popular candidates to force the nomination of a less popular candidate like McCain, but again, Medved revisits history to show the Republican elite resistance to McCain and preference for other candidates during the primary season. Third, they argue that conservatism will win every time, but he points out the elections that candidates like Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan lost. "The notion that ideologically pure conservative candidates can win by disregarding centrists and magically producing previously undiscovered legions of true-believer voters remains a fantasy."
Stephen Carter in Bloomberg View on tax deductions for charitable giving Politicians of both parties advocate eliminating the tax break for charitable donations. But this is the time of year when families look at how much disposable income remains, and eliminating the break would be bad policy, he argues. When deciding how much of it to give, families often consider tax deductions. Carter outlines the original reasoning behind the deduction: that it encourages giving and allows individuals to decide how to improve public welfare, not just the government. Some argue the deduction is regressive because families with higher incomes get to avoid a higher tax rate, but Carter shows this misunderstands the fact that the deduction benefits the recipients of charitable giving, not the donors. Carter details research that shows the elasticity of charitable giving, meaning eliminating the deduction would lessen the amount of giving. "By encouraging individuals to make their own choices on how to spend money for the public good, the deduction makes society as a whole better off," he says.