Originally Posted by Beingist
I know Bill Gates is somewhat of a philanthropist, but otherwise, I honestly think that charitable contributions are really more for the tax deduction than out of actual charity. And the reason I think this, is because if you took away the charitable contribution deduction, do you really expect contributes would be even close to what they are now?
This doesn't make much sense - when you contribute to charity, the deduction effectively reduces your income by the amount of the contribution. Since income is fractionally taxes (30% or whatever), the amount of taxes you save is only a fraction of the size of the contribution. If one was trying to maximize wealth they would make no charity contributions whatsoever.
From an economic point of view, the charity contributions of the wealthy are in fact altruistic. The deduction simply makes them less expensive than they would otherwise be.