As a philanthropist and advocate, Earle I. Mack was recently interviewed by CNN’s Situation Room about the possibility of capping charitable deductions to help lower the budget shortfall.  Watch the full video below, or on their website. 


CNN Situation Room: Earle I. Mack looks to art for inspiration and information.  This piece from the Spanish artist Manolva Valdez speaks to him.

Earle I Mack: It says think.  And look.  And observe what’s around you.

CNN Situation Room: Mack, a former ambassador to Finland and a multi-millionaire several times over.  He says he sees the world as a place for doing good.  After the earthquake in Haiti he chartered two planes and brought in team of doctors and medical supplies on his own.

Earle I Mack: I just felt a passion at- at all these people dying- and they haven’t got any medical help.  They’re just lying there- bleeding to death, getting sick, getting infected, I don’t know.  I can’t tell you more anything more than that about why I did it.  I just woke up one day and did it.

CNN Situation Room: Mack has donated milions over the year to various causes.  He has long been a patron of the arts, theaters and musuems.  He made his fortune in real estate development and investment.  He is part of that one percent, those Americans who make the most but also donate the most.  Now, Mack is worried for the institutions he has long supported because of the fiscal cliff.

President Obama: We ask the weathliest Americans to pay a slightly higher tax rate.

CNN Situation Room: As Congress debates how to close the budget gap…

Joe Bohner: Closing loopholes, especially on those who are wealthy, is a better way to raise this revenue than raising rates.

CNN Situation Room: One proposal that keeps on coming up? Cap chariable deductions. Who do you think will be hurt the most if Congress changes the current charitable deductions?

Earle I Mack: If giving is hurt, all these programs are hurt.  From the arts, to hospitals, to universiteis, to emergency rooms, are on the verge of collapse.

CNN Situation Room: Mack says that it’s large, individual donations that help keep non-profit hosipitals open and fund college scholarship endowments. Reduce the incentive to give, and giving will slow down- hurting programs across the country. Mack is not the only one worried.

John Lippincott: A one percent decline in giving to American higher education, would result in a loss of three hundred million dollars a year to colleges and universities.  That’s three hundred thousand student scholarships that would be lost.

Earle I Mack: A ten million dollar giver could be dis-incentivized.

CNN Situation Room: Mack says that he personally will continue to giving to worthy causes- deduction or no deduction. But he knows many others who will not.

Earle I Mack: If we were all angels then we’d be up in Heaven and I wouldn’t be sitting here.