Patterico's Pontifications


Charity Begins at Home

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 1:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Obama-Biden advocates universal voluntary public service. I interpret that to mean Obama-Biden wants all Americans to voluntarily give their time and treasure to others.

Via Paul L. Caron of TaxProf Blog, here’s how the Bidens chose to share their treasure:

“[T]he returns show that the Bidens have been amazingly tight-fisted when it comes to their charitable giving. Despite income ranging from $210,432 – $321,379 over the ten-year period, the Bidens have given only $120 – $995 per year to charity, which amounts to 0.06% – 0.31% of their income. [Biden charitable gift chart omitted but can be seen at the link. — DRJ]

It is jarring that a couple earning over $200,000 per year would give as little as $2 per week to charity. This giving compares very unfavorably to John McCain, whose tax returns show that he gave 27.3% – 28.6% of his income to charity in 2006-2007. During the same period, the Obamas’ tax returns show that they gave 5.8% – 6.1% of their income to charity.

Perhaps the Obama-Biden campaign needs a new slogan: “Change You Can Believe In (As Long As Someone Else Pays For It)”

An update to the TaxProf post indicates average Americans contribute 3.1% of their income to charity and taxpayers with AGI over $200,000 give over $20,000.

Frankly, I don’t care how much the Bidens or anyone gives to charity but if they are going to make service a top issue in their campaign, maybe Obama-Biden should have a special platform for voluntary charity and service by politicians.


32 Responses to “Charity Begins at Home”

  1. Perhaps the Obama-Biden campaign needs a new slogan.

    How about “Change (Really Small Change, Like Nickels) You Can Believe In”

    Patricia (ee5c9d)

  2. DRJ – Don’t repeated studies show that Republicans are more generous givers to charities than Democrats? I think it’s due to the attitude that the Dems feel the government will take care of societies problems, while Republicans know it will not.

    @different IP

    daleyrocks (1ee287)

  3. I was trying to remember if this had been an issue with Kerry or with Gore. According to this article the answer is…”yes”.

    MamaAJ (788539)

  4. Charity Begins At The Federal Reserve (or is it the IRS?).

    Icy Truth (4935fe)

  5. I can’t resist. It’s too fuking easy.
    What’s Jill Biden’s Job?

    Since 1993, Biden has been a professor of English at the Stanton/Wilmington campus of Delaware Technical & Community College.[6][4][11] There she teaches English composition, with an emphasis towards instilling confidence in students.[12] Biden is also the president of the Biden Breast Health Initiative, a non-profit organization begun in 1993 that provides educational breast health awareness programs free of charge to schools and other groups in the state of Delaware.[13][14] Biden is also involved with Book Buddies, which gives books to low-income children, and Delaware Boots on the Ground, which supports military families.

    JAR (6b0755)

  6. “Biden is also involved with Book Buddies, which gives books to low-income children, and Delaware Boots on the Ground, which supports military families.”

    JAR – Not much in the way of cash or in kind contributions there in terms of involvement. What does she do?

    daleyrocks (1ee287)

  7. Team Obama must really be in disarray, if this is a recent example of their vaunted counterattack – is there anyone at their campaign staff that actually looks into these things on more than a superficial level? Man, talk about leading with your chin – they do it every time.

    Dmac (e639cc)

  8. It’s all about teh narrative, Daley.

    Dmac (e639cc)

  9. Meet the new JAR, same as the old JAR.

    Icy Truth (4935fe)

  10. I thought JAR was leaving. LIAR!

    daleyrocks (1ee287)

  11. So having a job exempts the Bidens from charitable giving, by JAR’s standards.

    JD (5f0e11)

  12. JAR – That Biden Breast Health Initiative web site looks dormant. Is the charity dormant too?

    daleyrocks (1ee287)

  13. This is so fuking easy.

    daleyrocks (1ee287)

  14. The data put out by the tax prof doesn’t set up a proper comparison. He is comparing 10 years of Biden’s giving to a single selected year of Obama’s and McCain’s giving. It would be much more accurate and honest to look at charitable giving for all four candidates for all 10 years.

    McCain will still probably end up as the most generous of at least the three men in the article, since in general Republicans apparently do give more to charity.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  15. Just another in a long line of stawmen for the libs – Repubs are greedy and selfish, screw the poor. But charitable giving doesn’t count. Only higher taxes count – welcome to Sweden.

    Dmac (e639cc)

  16. It would be much more accurate and honest to look at charitable giving for all four candidates for all 10 years.

    Why? Are you looking for more reasons to cry?

    Icy Truth (582d04)

  17. I’ll be both generous and not so.

    It is consistent, I believe, for the Dems to give little money to charity, unless they give extra to the US government. It is government social security that is the backbone of support for the elderly, it is government preschool that provides “professional” nurturing of children so mom and dad can work and contribute to the collective good, it is government health care that provides care for the elderly and poor, and for everyone if they have their way.

    Concern for others is not expressed in personal charity, it is expressed in establishing governmental programs to care for those in need. So lack of charitable giving is not necessarily evidence of “not caring”.

    Those were my generous comments.

    One needs to clarify what is meant by “volunteerism” in the Democrat lexicon. I believe Sen. Obama received some small stipend when he was doing his community organizing (I could be wrong). Certainly young adults who work with Americorps do not pay for their own room and board. They certainly sacrifice what they might otherwise make, but they are getting support for their volunteerism, are they not?

    It is always easier to “love humanity” than love one’s neighbor. Personal charity requires the latter, governmental programs are convenient for the former.

    Sen. Obama wants a huge civilian “army” to work for peace, homeland security, and the American good, correct? What would be better for the state than government provided care and instruction from preschool through young-adulthood, especially when the government is run by those like Sen. Obama, with Bill Ayers as his Secretary of Education, Jeremiah Wright as head of the office of Faith-Based Initiatives, and Tony Rezko (sp?) head of HUD (after granted a pardon for his felony convictions.

    Far-fetched? If it smells like a dead fish…
    Who knows what is possible, this two term state senator from Ill. should be nowhere near the presidency.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  18. BO has chided Americans for being selfish. It appears that description includes his Veep. The Obama campaign new mantra: Charity ends at home.

    DavidL (02e14f)

  19. I seem to remember some of the charitable deductions from one William Jefferson Clinton …

    correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t he claiming $3 each for his old undies.

    quasimodo (aa6169)

  20. #19 skid marks and all? I wonder what became of the infamous blue dress laden with Bubba’s sperm?
    Auction them all off for charity.

    What is McCain’s rate of charitable giving? Think I read 27% or so?

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  21. Well, at least Biden’s tossing his used underwear in the trash instead of using them for a tax deduction per the Clinton’s.

    C. Norris (485ecd)

  22. Well, add the word “easy” to the list of words that don’t really mean what JAR thinks that they mean.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  23. EdWood,

    The comparison you seek is specifically shown at the link and is basically provided in the excerpt.

    For tax year 2006-2007, McCain gave 27.3%-28.6% of his income to charity, the Obamas gave 5.8%-6.1%, and the Bidens gave .311%.

    DRJ (7568a2)

  24. MD, if I read you right….

    Democrats believe that “charity” is established by government fiat…

    Take from those who can by force, to give to those who can’t–won’t–by THEIR choice….

    Please don’t read my comments as negative towards you….I think we are close in that I’m against what is written above, and believe more in helping those who WANT to help themselves….and my idea of charity is to find several good ones and give both time and money, but more time….

    reff (4ab894)

  25. “…maybe Obama-Biden should have a special platform for voluntary charity and service by politicians.

    Obama did perform unpaid community service for three years after he finished school – and you folks ripped him to shreds over it.

    Consistency, wingers. Consistency.

    El Sombrero (b8c7e2)

  26. JAR clearly has never had a loved one get breast cancer.

    When you graduate from high school, JAR, maybe you’ll learn to be a bit more compassionate about women dying of cancer.

    El Sombrero (b8c7e2)

  27. El Sombrero:

    Obama did perform unpaid community service for three years after he finished school – and you folks ripped him to shreds over it.

    I don’t think that’s accurate. Obama wasn’t criticized for his community work, only for likening it to executive experience.

    DRJ (7568a2)

  28. This just completely irks me. Beyond anything that is different between Democrats and Republicans, it is just exactly this issue.It has been studied and proven that conservatives donate more time and more money to charities than democrats. Here are people who proclaim that we have to take care of everyone, that people are being left behind with no help, so it is up to government to steal money from hard working people to redistribute to people who are not as well off. These are the same sanctimonious people who tell Americans that they are not doing enough, and when you look into thier giving, it is half that of the people they are deriding as stingy and selfish, as well as morally corrupt people.
    ARRRRG, I am so pissy about this subject.

    A Stoner (94c167)

  29. Hmmph. The Weasel had already pegged him in May.

    Caution: Place liquids out of reach first.

    EW1(SG) (84e813)

  30. reff-

    I appreciate your comments and thank you for making them clear, yes, I think we are basically in agreement, just coming at it from different angles.

    As I stated in my post, I was describing how I think one could be a Democrat and be truly concerned for the poor but not give anything to charity, because that is just not the mind set. As you understood, it’s not that I agree with that mindset, it’s just that I see it as intellectually consistent.

    While I think a person could intellectually believe that, and hence in their minds not see any conflict or hypocrisy, I do not consider that a good state to be in.

    To put the rest of it more bluntly, I think history gives many examples of those who “loved humanity” but were personally brutal and cruel to those around them. An example would be the Vietnam War protester who didn’t give a d*** how many S. Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians died after the US pulled out, but felt “victorious” in their protests.*

    In my phrase, “What would be better for the state…” I am suggesting that this kind of outlook is consistent with totalitarian communism. The individual neighbor who needs my attention means nothing, only the “good of the people”. That is one way, perhaps, that Obama can say whatever he wants about being a “uniter” and bringing people together when he actually is on one radical extreme and happy to destroy political opponents by any means necessary ever since his first run for state senate.

    Pardon my brevity-challenged writing. Superficially I defend Sen. Biden and others pointing out it is logically consistent with their views on how to care for others, it is not “hypocrisy” in the sense we would normally use the term. But on another level I think it exposes the inhumanity of where that view takes us.

    *[I am not describing someone who thought the war was wrong and wanted US involvment to end but were horrified at the resulting carnage- that person was concerned with the good of one’s neighbor. Rather, I’m talking about the one who is proud that protests helped get us out of the war, they feel they did something good, and whether it really helped or hurt those they claimed they cared about doesn’t matter.]

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  31. good idea for charity

    please visit

    swar (c670a1)

  32. #28

    Dude, your name is “A Stoner” – if you’re pissy, go down some munchies or whatever it is you hippies do besides bathe.

    i like america (f4c1e0)

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