In 2020, Americans’ individual charitable giving reached $324 billion, a record high and a 2.2 percent increase from 2019. While the pandemic imposed great costs on our society, many households shared their resources with others, including religious, educational, and human service organizations. For many reasons, giving is a good thing and our society is better for it. Encouraging people to give is also a good and worthy objective, if done well. Unfortunately, lawmakers currently are pursuing a tax incentive for charitable giving that is poorly targeted.
Absent congressional action, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) statutory authority to conduct spectrum airwave auctions is set to expire this year. The United States has been a world leader in spectrum auctions. Well-designed auctions conducted in a timely manner have enabled spectrum, a scarce resource, to be allocated to the most high-value uses in a transparent manner with minimal political controversy. The country’s early deployment of each new generation of mobile technology is a testament to its effective auction policy. Importantly, auctions have also raised significant sums of money for governmental use in other sectors.