I'm a big fan and financial supporter of the ASPCA, Humane Society and my local animal shelters. But I am conflicted about an email I received today from the ASPCA. They are backing a bill now floating around Congress which would offer tax breaks for "qualifying pet care expenses, including veterinary care."
Where does it end? Everyone wants a tax break for everything: health care, education, child care, welfare, housing, upside down mortgages, new cars, bank bailouts. While I am all for giving pets (especially ones adopted from animal shelters) the best care possible, I am not sure the federal tax code is the way to go here. On the other hand, it's my money in the first place, so if the feds want to give some of it back to me so that Maisy (our dog, pictured above) can have a tummy-tuck, who am I to complain?
Why should my next door neighbor subsidize my dog's care? He's a cat person! Ditto for my wife and me with regard to his cat. We hate cats!
What it comes down to is this: If I get a tax break, someone else is paying for it. Or the government can pay for it by printing more money (instead of raising taxes) but that would be inflationary, now, wouldn't it?
Keep up the good work, ASPCA. I will keep sending you money and yes, since you are a qualified charity, I will take the deduction on my taxes. But I will handle my own dog's care and I would prefer that my fellow pet owners do the same, without dipping into my pocket via the IRS.
And if you can't afford to take your dog to the veterinarian, get a goldfish.