Sunday, September 14, 2008

Change You Can Believe In, As Long As You're Using Someone Else's Money, And Not Your Own

The WSJ, Greg Mankiw and Tax Prof all reported on Joe Biden's tax returns (available here and summarized on Tax Prof). As Tax Prof (Paul Caron) points out: "Despite income ranging from $210,432 - $321,379 over the ten-year period from 1998 to 2007, the Bidens have given only $120 - $995 per year to charity, which amounts to 0.06% - 0.31% of their income (see chart below)."

Tax Prof points to IRS statistics showing that taxpayers with AGI over $200,000 make an average charitable contributions of $20,434, and taxpayers with AGI between $100,000 and $200,000 make average charitable contributions of $4,057. From 1998-2007, Biden's average AGI was $245,000 and his average annual charitable contribution was only $369 ($7 per week), see the comparison in the chart below.



13 Comments:

At 9/14/2008 11:18 PM, Blogger Highgamma said...

Arthur Brooks at Syracuse University has written on this topic. His book, Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism, lays out the case with a fairly extensive dataset that liberals give much less than conservatives.

His most interesting finding is that self-described liberals are 1/3 less likely to give blood than self-described conservatives.

The following article describes some of his work. I recommend the book.

http://philanthropy.com/free/articles/v19/i04/04001101.htm

 
At 9/14/2008 11:22 PM, Blogger Robert said...

I have long believed that the left favors redistributionist policies because they want to abdicate their personal responsibility. Since they believe they are paying taxes for that problem, they don't have to be actively involved. Programs like the "Great Society" et al. are really just the mixing of church and state.

A relevant book:

http://www.amazon.com/Makers-Takers-conservatives-generously-materialistic/dp/038551350X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221452276&sr=8-1

 
At 9/15/2008 5:37 AM, Anonymous Mark said...

It seems foolish to use the average contributions for people with AGI over $200,000 because this group includes people who make staggering amounts more than that.

 
At 9/15/2008 7:11 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Mark: You're absolutely correct, and I have adjusted the graph.

 
At 9/15/2008 8:53 AM, Anonymous EJ said...

well you know how the saying goes... "Do as I say, not as I do."

 
At 9/15/2008 9:10 AM, Anonymous QT said...

Charitable contributions of Bushes and the Cheneys make an interesting contrast to the guy from Scranton.

 
At 9/15/2008 9:37 AM, Anonymous QT said...

Obama's charitable donations appear to coincide with his bid for the presidency.

 
At 9/15/2008 9:43 AM, Blogger Marko said...

This hardly seems fair. I mean, I consider about half our tax dollars to be for charity (forced charity, but charity none the less), so I could see why Biden didn't feel the need to donate more.

I don't.

When I get a big tax cut, and the government gets out of the charity business, I might start giving more. But right now, my after tax income goes to my own family.

 
At 9/15/2008 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well put, Marko. However, given the related policies of the Obama / Biden platform, I hardly believe he shares your sentiment.

 
At 9/15/2008 10:26 AM, Anonymous EJ said...

marko,

The point is that biden calls for peopell to have to give up more of their income to government int he name of helping the less fortunate. Biden therefore is a hypocrit when he demands we all give up more, but he a "rich guy" didoesnt volenteer tog ive uop more of his own money. Hence the post... its only chage you can believe in when its someones elses money.

 
At 9/15/2008 4:45 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"From 1998-2007, Biden's average AGI was $245,000 and his average annual charitable contribution was only $369 ($7 per week), see the comparison in the chart below"...

Probably the ONLY smart thing Biden's done since first drawing breath...

In these days of confiscatory taxation money wasted on taxes should be considered a charitable contribution...

 
At 9/15/2008 10:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait...a libertarian calling someone out for how they "use their money" which libertarians consider "speech"? That's free then, isn't it? And if your Randian/Objectivist, you can hardly question someone who ignores charity.

 
At 9/15/2008 11:07 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> you can hardly question someone who ignores charity.

Not when they caterwaul about how much people need to "give" to their communities and don't.

It's not their choices, it's their voices which are the problem here.

They want to "give" -- they just want to give from YOUR pockeet instead of their own.

=================

And to those of you making comments about "giving" through your taxes -- Isn't that the point?

All too often, enforced "charity" doesn't mean more charity, and often means less, for two reasons:
1) All the "charitable contributions" are filtered through a very ineffective and inefficient bureaucracy
2) Instead of giving what they feel like, they give what is demanded, leaving out the fact that someone might be in a good mood and write a bigger check, which happens a lot more than it ought to.

The USA existed for 150-odd years with limited government charity. All the government's presence has done is to eliminate the pre-Depression existing charitable infrastructure. How many of you have heard of Mutual Aid Societies?


The government warps it all.

.

 

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