Isn’t this just so typical?
According to Vice President Joe Biden’s tax returns, he and his wife earned $269,256 in income last year, and donated $1,885 to charity — about seven-tenths of one percent.
But maybe he was generous in the years prior to last year’s tax returns, right? Nope:
Last September, Biden released 10 years of tax returns and reported a total of $3,690 in charitable donations — or 0.2 percent of their income over the decade.
The response from the Bidens – and their spokespeople – is that you can’t tell how charitable a person is just by how much money they give to needy charities. And you know what? That’s exactly right. But that’s not the left’s standard barometer of doing right by your fellow man. Their measuring stick is how much money you shell out to give each year to what you feel are worthy charitable causes.
Of course, after reports over the last couple of years of how conservatives are more giving than liberals – that “measuring stick” has probably been tossed into File 13. And if there were a stick that measured on the basis of “time given,” it should have been tossed, too. From a George Will column in March 2008:
Sixteen months ago, Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, published “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism.” The surprise is that liberals are markedly less charitable than conservatives.
If many conservatives are liberals who have been mugged by reality, Brooks, a registered independent, is, as a reviewer of his book said, a social scientist who has been mugged by data. They include these findings:
— Although liberal families’ incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).
— Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.
— Residents of the states that voted for John Kerry in 2004 gave smaller percentages of their incomes to charity than did residents of states that voted for George Bush.
— Bush carried 24 of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average.
— In the 10 reddest states, in which Bush got more than 60 percent majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40 percent, donated just 1.9 percent.
— People who reject the idea that “government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality” give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.
Brooks demonstrates a correlation between charitable behavior and “the values that lie beneath” liberal and conservative labels. Two influences on charitable behavior are religion and attitudes about the proper role of government.
The single biggest predictor of someone’s altruism, Willett says, is religion. It increasingly correlates with conservative political affiliations because, as Brooks’ book says, “the percentage of self-described Democrats who say they have ‘no religion’ has more than quadrupled since the early 1970s.” America is largely divided between religious givers and secular nongivers, and the former are disproportionately conservative. One demonstration that religion is a strong determinant of charitable behavior is that the least charitable cohort is a relatively small one — secular conservatives.
The moral of that story is that when it comes to charitable giving – whether you’re talking time and/or money, conservatives beat liberals hands down – in spite of how often liberals wail about “mean-spirited conservatives” who hate the poor/elderly/sick, etc so much that they want to “deprive” them.
I don’t doubt the Bidens have given generously of their time to worthy causes of their choosing. The fact that they have given so little of their money to charitable causes doesn’t really bother me. What does bother me is that Joe Biden and so many of his liberal pals in city, state, and federal government don’t mind being more generous with MY money than they are with their own. They’re famous for declaring that they are “more charitable” towards others than conservatives, but the dirty little secret is that their “generosity” involves taxing Americans higher and higher so that they (the government) can decide best where that money goes. That’s not “generosity.” Where I come from, excessive taxation and redistrubution of it is called “theft” – and socialism.
There’s something wrong with this picture, and the solution is smaller government and lower taxes, not bigger and higher. But anyone saying that these days to the elites in government is engaging in an exercise in futility. And so we stand by screaming for the conductor to listen, while the wheels fall off the train.