After the federal government recently agreed to extend tax cuts to the nation's wealthiest, three professors from Yale and Cornell universities have created a website to encourage them to donate their tax savings to charities while simultaneously sending a political message.
The professors started GiveItBackForJobs.org, a website that allows those "who have the means" to calculate their total tax cuts and donate the amount to charity.
"Extending the tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans is frankly unconscionable," Yale Law School professor Daniel Markovits told the Associated Press Wednesday. With the website's help, "donors can pledge their money to support the kinds of programs that will help families, create jobs, and set the country moving toward a just prosperity," the professors said.
Markovits, Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker, and Cornell law professor Robert Hockett started the campaign. Hacker is co-author of "Winner Take All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class."
The three recommend giving to groups such as Habitat for Humanity, Children's Aid Society and Salvation Army that they say promote fairness, economic growth and a strong middle class. They say the contributions could replicate good government policy and, in effect, draft the government as a funding partner when the donation is tax deductible.
"The collective giving together becomes almost a kind of shadow fiscal policy," Markovits said.
This "shadow fiscal policy" will go further to help the middle class than tax cuts for the rich, the professors say.
"America’s shared prosperity is under threat. Even as the Great Recession devastates the American middle class, the wealthy continue to prosper," the group's website says.
"The tax cut deal, while perhaps the best the President could get, will not end this crisis of American democracy. It does too little to help the middle class. And it expects too little support from those who can afford to give the most. Ordinary citizens can, by acting together to create a shadow fiscal policy, correct this failure of government and set the country moving toward a just prosperity."