Monday, October 27, 2008

Charitable Giving of Presidential Candidates

Adapted from Tim Stevens

Warning! Truthful facts ahead.

Last year,
JOE BIDEN made $320,000 in (adjusted) income. And yet, how much did he give to charity? He gave a whopping $995...about 1/4 of 1%.

Maybe he had a bad year? Nope, it turns out that last year he gave more to charity than any of the past ten years. Joe Biden's total giving to charity over the past ten years adds up to $3,690. That is how much a tithing family making 1/3 his salary gives every four months!!!

Why does this matter? Can't you run the country without giving to charity? Maybe, but for me, this is huge. Charitable giving speaks to your belief in people. It reflects your heart and whether you truly want to help people who are less fortunate. Lack of giving reveals a selfishness and self-sufficiency. As a politician, it speaks loudly that your confidence is in big government and not in the American people. And, for someone running for political office who knows his tax returns will be made public, it shows a lack of political astuteness to not think this will make a difference.

I'm not saying Biden needs to be a Christian and give money to a Christian church to be vice president. But couldn't he find any cause to believe in? Perhaps finding a cure for cancer, helping people with the AIDS epidemic or giving money to help unwed mothers. Surely there is some cause in the world worthy of his support? Apparently no.

Biden's spokesman, David Wade, says
that he simply "doesn't have piles of money to give." Yeah, I feel bad for him. Only $320,000 last year. Imagine if that was the attitude of every American family. Hospitals would close. Churches would cease to exist. The Red Cross wouldn't be around to help during the next disaster.

How are the other candidates doing? BARACK OBAMA wasn't doing much better until 2005 when he began running for president. Prior to that time,
his charitable giving averaged 0.9%. Since he's been running for president, it increased to 4.7% in 2005 and 6.1% in 2006. Whatever his motive, I'm glad to see it increasing.

Governor SARAH PALIN has given about 2.4% of her income to charity.

Of the four, JOHN McCAIN has donated the most,
giving more than 25% of his income in 2007 to charity. He didn't just start doing this recently. He has given ALL of his book royalties to charity since the first book deal in 1998 (more than $1.8 million given to charity in ten years). In 1991 (yes, 17 years ago), he opposed a pay raise that the Senate voted for themselves, so he gave that pay raise to charity that year, and every year since, adding up to more than $450,000.

This is not a political endorsment or support for anyone. But here's my point: Before any of these politicians raise my taxes, I wish they would do a better job of setting the example by GIVING some of THEIR OWN MONEY away first.