Monday, September 15, 2008

Biden's Giving

I've commented before on how many big time Democrats, despite their claims to care so much more about the down trodden than those greedy Republicans, give very little of their own money to charity (Gore, Kerry, Obama, etc.). Byron York of National Review examined Joe Biden's tax returns and found that in the last 10 years, on earnings of $2.4 million, Biden has given a grand total of $3,960 to charity. Not even an average per year, but in total. That is about 1/8 of one percent of his adjusted gross income. The average American household gives 2% of their income, far short of the Biblical tithe, yet still 16 times more than Biden. Does Joe Biden share the same values as the average American when it comes to helping those in need?

Here's another fun fact for you: the top 25 most generous states (as measured by charitable deductions/average adjusted gross income, IRS data) are all red states. I would argue that this is because liberals preach a collective responsibility to help the poor, while conservatives believe in an individual responsibility to help the needy. A collectivist believes he is helping the poor merely by voting Democrat, thereby outsourcing personal responsibility to the government.


Kyle Hommes said...

That is insane. I can't believe someone who makes that much money gives that little to charity.

I'm not sure it necessarily has to do with collectivism and feeling like individual responsibility is not needed. I just think it is greed, and it flies in the face of everything Democrats say.

But, in defense of the Democrats, I think giving money without getting involved in a cause doesn't do a whole lot, nor does withholding money if you have it.

Jon Vander Plas said...

Is it just greed? Arthur Brooks' studies indicate that conservatives are more generous than liberals, even when controlling for income and religious affiliation. I don't think liberals are inherently more greedy, so what is the explanation?

The fact is, Obama's giving wasn't much better until he started thinking about running for president. And most of the money he did give went to Jeremiah Wright's church.

Kyle Hommes said...

Maybe it isn't just greed. There may be something fundamental to the political ideologies.

I think it could be that conservatives feel just fine donating money to a cause and letting someone else deal with it, while liberals want to help fix the problem, but apparently don't want to pay to do so personally. It seems that both sides need to change some.

I does seem two-faced to talk so much about helping people and then not donate money, when they clearly make enough to do so.

Jon Vander Plas said...

Except that Arthur Brooks' studies also showed that conservatives volunteer more than liberals as well. His book is called "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism." I haven't read it yet, but I plan too.

Brooks is not a conservative by the way. He claims to have been very surprised by the results of his research.

Another factor is that liberals regard conservatives as callous when they don't view inequality as the result of social injustice. Therefore any charity that comes from them is insufficient.

Kyle Hommes said...


Kyle Hommes said...

I think liberals do regard conservatives as callous because of their stance on inequality, but I think it also has to do with their take on social programs. If inequality is built into the human condition, and based off of talents and abilities then what is wrong with social programs. It would seem then that these people who are down and out really need the charity because they do not possess the ability to get themselves up.

I don't think it is fair to say that one party is more compassionate than another, they just have different ways of approaching the issues and of administering charity. The Republicans want privatized charity, and the Democrats want the government to be involved. Personally I think both are necessary.