Patterico's Pontifications

4/17/2019

Democrats: Always Generous with Someone Else’s Money

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:13 pm



[guest post by JVW]

The Democrat candidates who plan to seek the Presidency next year are releasing their tax returns (along with the requisite calls for the current White House occupant to do the same), and once again we can delight in the fact that so many progressives who think that helping the poor is the sine qua non of being a decent human being somehow don’t see the need to open up their own wallets to help. Here’s a round up of some of the notable characters.

Even the lefties at the NY Times and LA Times are snarking that the Senator Bernard Sanders’s tax returns show that he has pushed himself into the one-percent since his 2016 Presidential run. So you might assume that a self-proclaimed democratic socialist would purposely overpay his taxes in order to comport with his personally held beliefs, or at the very least he would send lots of dollars to charitable causes. But you would be wrong. Sen. and Mrs. Sanders declared $36,300 in charitable giving against their $1.31 million in income in 2017, which is a ho-hum 2.77%. This might be acceptable for a working family with a mortgage and children, but it seems pretty weak for a couple who supplements his Senate and book income with $52k per year in Social Security benefits.

That said, in comparison to some of the other Democrat candidates, Senator Sanders is a veritable Carnegie. Progressive stalwart Kamala Harris, who has a colorful history of collecting income from different sources, has released 15 years of her taxes dating back to her time as a San Francisco prosecutor, and it turns out that for some years — including her years as California’s Attorney General (annual compensation of approximately $150,000) — she reported zero in charitable contributions. Now that she is married to a well-compensated corporate lawyer and filing jointly, she reports annual joint income in the $2 million range, yet only claims average charitable giving between 1% and 3% of the couple’s annual income.

Elizabeth Warren had the good sense to just post her last eleven tax returns on her campaign website and let us dumb bloggers plow through them for nuggets. This past year, 2018, the Senator and her law professor husband reported $50,128 in giving on $786,266 of taxable income, for a much more impressive 6.4% than we have seen from her competitors. Compare that however with 2009, before Elizabeth Warren had appeared on the national scene, when the couple gave $24,442 on a combined taxable income of $890,993, for a more Sanders-esque 2.74%. It seems that the Warren-Mann household had the good sense to bump up their charitable giving percentage once she became an icon of anti-capitalist thought, but overall it appears that a quarter donation on every ten-dollar bill is closer to their level of generosity. I guess somebody’s got to pay for all of that Michelob Ultra.

Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar have both released their tax returns and like Senator Warren have helpfully posted them to their respective campaign websites. Sen. and Mr. Gillibrand in their 2013 return (I picked that year because it was the farthest year from her next election, so she wouldn’t have had political incentive to be a heavy donor that year) report $2,750 given to charity on $310,605 taxable income (0.88%) which they magnanimously bumped up to 1.75% on their 2018 return, now that the Senator wants to be President. Sen. Klobuchar and her husband John Bessler fall in the Warren-Sanders levels of giving, with reported gifts of $6,325 on $251,823 (a 2.51% ratio) back in 2013, followed up with $6,602 on $300,848 (2.19%) this last tax year.

Presumptive entree Joe Biden has not yet released his tax returns, but he has a pretty pitiful history of charitable giving from his pre-VP days. I imagine he has since seen the error of his ways and now gives whatever the political consultants advise him is the minimum to retain proper decorum, but I submit to you that those years prior to his inclusion on the Obama ticket are highly indicative of his charitable proclivities. In his miserdom, Biden joins his fellow blowhard Senator turned VP Al Gore, who embarrassed himself with a meager donation just a few short years before he would seek to replace his boss in our nation’s highest office.

Funnest of all is this year’s Democrat teenybopper crush, Robert F. O’Rourke of El Paso. A scion of white privilege, son of a judge and son-in-law to a wealthy developer, Mr. O’Rourke and his wife netted a healthy 2017 income of $370,412 yet reported only $1,166 in charitable giving, which comes out to less than one penny donated on every three dollars earned. But hey, got to save up to fund those month-long personal discovery journeys in the Southwest desert, right? The former Congressman now claims that he has donated much more than what he reported on his tax forms, and that he would reach out to the charities he has supported in order to see if they retained records that he can then provide. You can expect to hear back from him about this somewhere around the fourth of Never.

– JVW

45 Responses to “Democrats: Always Generous with Someone Else’s Money”

  1. I could respect (but not agree with) a leftist who would come out and say something like “I don’t give to charity because I think that the government should be solving these problems, not private parties.” But when you are so damn sure that you have the right to get your hands on someone else’s money and redistribute it as you think is necessitated by the diktats of social justice, you should at least either purposefully overpay your taxes or else be willing to cough up some of your own dough.

    JVW (82196f)

  2. The first time I heard the phrase “generous with someone else’s money” was when the late, great Kate O’Beirne thus described Al Gore.

    JVW (82196f)

  3. As we were watching a replay of Sanders’s stumbling as he tried to respond to Fox questioners regarding his taxes at the townhall, I mentioned to my wife how strange it was that he didn’t anticipate this and either send a check to the US Treasury or – at the very least – increase his charitable donations in prep for his run. Not very bright on his part. Same goes for Robert O’Rourke.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  4. If a politician donates they get an increased kickback later

    mg (8cbc69)

  5. As others have noted, prominent liberals often toss around quarters like manhole covers. John Kerry was another one who was miserable in the charitable donations department.

    B.A. DuBois (80f588)

  6. OTOH “watch your wallet”— the Republican president has pledged United States ‘assistance’ to aid in the refurbishment of France’s Notre Dame Cathedral… what’s that gonna cost We The People?! — While the Pope in Rome sends prayers and thanks. Howzabout selling off some of that ol’Nazi gold instead, fella?

    The Catholic Church is one of the wealthiest institutions on our planet– thoughts and prayers are quaint street theatre – but a sizable check outta the Vatican Bank would be much more down to earth in going about “God’s work.”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  7. In fairness to Bernie, he does claim he gave away some of the proceeds from his book but did not claim the deduction on his taxes. There’s no way of verifying this, however.

    I give plenty to charity, but I don’t itemize my deductions. Outside of charity, I don’t have many deductions, and never enough to exceed the standard deduction. That’s even more true this year. So, someone would look at my tax returns and think I was a hard-hearted miser.

    Chuck Bartowski (bc1c71)

  8. Add this from AOC;

    Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who regularly lambastes Republicans over tax cuts and helped scuttle a plan by Amazon to locate in New York City because she opposed tax breaks the company might receive, costing the city an estimated 25,000 jobs, sought a tax break for herself in 2012 so she could launch her own company.

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/aoc-blew-amazon-out-of-new-york-in-2019-over-tax-breaks-but-demanded-one-for-herself-in-2012

    It’s always other people’s money that doesn’t need defending from the govt.

    harkin (0e8c36)

  9. The first time I heard the phrase “generous with someone else’s money” was when the late, great Kate O’Beirne thus described Al Gore.”

    Sounds like a variation on Maggie Thatcher’s famous quote:

    ‘The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money’

    harkin (0e8c36)

  10. @8 You don’t see a difference between someone starting a new company getting a tax break vs tax breaks for an otherwise profitable business?

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  11. I’d also like to point out that Trump likely has a negative charitable contribution rate, as he has personally pocketed money earmarked for charitable destinations.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  12. Spending other people’s money is the hallmark of the Democrats. Too bad Trump is right in the mix as far as his charitable giving goes, otherwise he could have pointed the finger to call out these politicians for their stinginess while plotting ways to spend other people’s money to help fellow Americans while pocketing their own.

    Dana (7d6d05)

  13. What Chuck Bartowski said @7. What you write off on your tax return and what you actually give are two different things. And then, what constitutes a “charitable contribution”? Is a donation to the Clinton Foundation the same as a donation to Feed The Children?

    nk (dbc370)

  14. Recently heard:

    “Bernie Sanders walks into a bar and yells, “Free Drinks for everyone!”

    People in the bar: “yayyyyyyyy.”

    Bernie: OK, Who’s buying?”

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (5e0a82)

  15. yes it’s like Costanza’s human fund,

    https://www.claremont.org/crb/basicpage/an-interview-with-norman-podhoretz/

    narciso (d1f714)

  16. Speaking of phonies congress critter james comer r. kentucky invites AOC to debate coal miners problems at coal mine. then recinds invitation when AOC says she will be talking about medicare for all coal miners.

    lany (06ce23)

  17. @12. Spending money we don’t have is the hallmark of Republicans; ‘I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for middle-east-wars and a tax cut today.’ 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  18. it’s not hypocritical, because they worship the state

    https://twitter.com/matthewschmitz/status/1118515314831101952

    narciso (d1f714)

  19. You don’t see a difference between someone starting a new company getting a tax break vs tax breaks for an otherwise profitable business?

    Not really, I think all businesses in over-taxed and over- regulated NY deserve a break. In a way AOC by her request is actually admitting businesses are over-taxed.

    But I certainly see the difference in actual potential ROI in a successful company getting $3 billion in incentives to bring in $27 billion in tax revenue plus 30,000+ jobs vs a children’s book startup owned by a person with apparently no business sense whatever.

    Btw – did you know that AOC – a person who reportedly earned a degree in economics summa cum laude from Boston University – declared that the $3 billon in tax incentives negated when the Amazon project was denied actually thought the money existed in city coffers and could be used elsewhere?

    harkin (0e8c36)

  20. She’s a genius, harkin. The gift what keeps on giving.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  21. I give consistently, but never itemize deductions, so none of it appears on my tax returns. But I still get constant receipts and thank yous and statements that document donations. Not to mention credit card statements for online and recurring donations.

    So I am inclined to think Beto need only look in his own filing cabinet to find the documents he claims not to have.

    Kishnevi (82cec7)

  22. I realize people are going to make fun, but I don’t claim my charitable donations. I don’t believe in it and I think it’s abrogation of your responsibilities because I would be shoving my tax burden off on my fellow citizens. Obviously not everyone feels that way, but I chose to donate to the Church or the Little sisters, or the Red Cross or my local scholarship fund, my fellow citizens shouldn’t have to pay for that IMO. And, yes, I know that my fellow citizens are shoving their tax burden off on me and maybe it all equals out in the end, but I can’t change the way other people view it, I can only choose to act in a way that I think is correct.

    Nic (896fdf)

  23. We dont care what you deduct, because you’re not a virtue signalling public official.

    Narciso (2f15eb)

  24. “So I am inclined to think Beto need only look in his own filing cabinet to find the documents he claims not to have.”

    Unless he’s taken one too many falls on his skateboard, I would expect he or one of his advisors would’ve already thought of that.

    I’m inclined to think Robert O’Rourke should be looking for another career, as the political career is all but toast.

    Colonel Haiku (79c376)

  25. I have yet to understand why Master O’Rourke has a political career to begin with. His only accomplishment after all seems to be not winning a race with Ted Cruz.

    Kishnevi (82cec7)

  26. @23 I could be, someday. Like, a school board member or something (No)

    Obviously occam’s razor says that if it isn’t on their tax returns, they didn’t donate. And that’s probably true, but it might not be.

    Nic (896fdf)

  27. OT, but I had no idea Ron Coleman was so funny… https://twitter.com/RonColeman/status/1118631747699249154

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  28. @25 Hard to tell. But it’s a pretty varied field this time and with Biden and Sanders as the only real bigfooted players but both pretty old, who know who will eventually float to the top.

    Nic (896fdf)

  29. “His only accomplishment after all seems to be not winning a race with Ted Cruz.”

    He came a lot closer than people predicted which is a bad harbinger considering he’s an empty suit elite and Cruz is a very good senator.

    harkin (0e8c36)

  30. “Btw – did you know that AOC – a person who reportedly earned a degree in economics summa cum laude from Boston University – declared that the $3 billon in tax incentives negated when the Amazon project was denied actually thought the money existed in city coffers and could be used elsewhere?”

    Did you know that Donald Trump – a person who reportedly earned a degree in economics (without honors) from Wharton – believes that tariffs are paid by the exporting country?

    Davethulhu (9847a2)

  31. tariff (tărˈĭf)►
    n. A list or system of duties imposed by a government on imported or exported goods.

    harkin (0e8c36)

  32. 30/31

    But the importers recoup those tariffs by raising prices charged to consumers.
    So it’s not Chinese money, but American consumers’s money, that actually pays tariffs.

    Kishnevi (82cec7)

  33. considering he’s an empty suit elite and Cruz is a very good senator.
    It is easy to imagine an empty suit holds anything you want…

    BTW, is Cruz actually a good senator? (There are more than a few Texans on this blog, so I defer to them.)

    Kishnevi (82cec7)

  34. Texas is a lot of things, but one thing it is definitely not is a bellwether.

    nk (dbc370)

  35. Did you know that Donald Trump – a person who reportedly earned a degree in economics (without honors) from Wharton – believes that tariffs are paid by the exporting country?

    Well, it really only depends on how you look at it.

    Joe buys a $90 box of Chinese finger puzzles, which Trump has tacked a $10 duty on. So, Joe has to fork over $100. You could easily claim that JOE has paid this duty. But you could also claim that Joe paid the Chinese $100 and the Chinese had to pay the government $10 of that.

    Now, it is often said that a duty raises the price of imported goods, but this is not necessarily so. It could also be absorbed by the seller, who reduces his price to stay competitive. Or some mixture of this.

    Who is actually paying this tax isn’t at all clear.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  36. According to Trump, it is.

    Kishnevi (82cec7)

  37. I have yet to understand why Master O’Rourke has a political career to begin with

    Because he’s cool and so is the name “Beto.” Are you seriously trying to logically explain why uninformed airhead voters do what they do?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  38. I would like you to answer my question on the other thread, Kevin M.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  39. According to Trump, it is.

    And Davethulu seems certain it is not.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  40. That’s why tariffs were the key revenue source till 1913.

    Narciso (191564)

  41. Kevin M (21ca15) — 4/17/2019 @ 7:39 pm
    That is in fact a logical explanation.
    Western civilization is doomed…

    Kishnevi (82cec7)

  42. The press has lied or omitted about most everything a out o’Rourke until the campaign began in earnest.

    Narciso (191564)

  43. I note that many people point out that perhaps some of these politicians do actually donate — as Robert O’Rourke claims to do — but don’t count them on their tax returns. I appreciate them mentioning that, as I meant to address that possibility in the post. If a candidate has zero entered for charitable giving in a year, I might be willing to believe that perhaps he or she really does make charitable contributions but does not track them on their taxes. But when a candidate does in fact go to the bother of entering in something in that particular box then I find it far-fetched that they would purposely lowball it. If Mr. O’Rourke had left that box empty on his tax form then I might be willing to believe that he is in fact generous with donations, but I find it nearly impossible to believe that he went to the trouble of tracking $1,166 in donations but didn’t bother to track tens of thousands of other dollars.

    JVW (4bb93e)

  44. It still makes me wonder what percentage of his income an ex-Democrat like Trump gave to charity, and sending money to his own corrupted foundation doesn’t count. But we don’t know that because he welshed on his pledge to release his returns.

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  45. 19. harkin (0e8c36) — 4/17/2019 @ 5:27 pm

    did you know that AOC – a person who reportedly earned a degree in economics summa cum laude from Boston University – declared that the $3 billon in tax incentives negated when the Amazon project was denied actually thought the money existed in city coffers and could be used elsewhere?

    Did she think so, or did she think other people could think so?

    She lied about the reason for not opening her congessional office early. The overnment sht=tdwown had nothing to do with it, or if it did, she never gave an explanation that made sense.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2649 secs.