Wednesday, January 27, 2010

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

Watching Obama and Biden on TV and hearing Obama talk proudly about their "leadership," I can't help but remember how relatively uncharitable and uncaring they have been in the past when it comes to spending their own money. If we look at some of the years before the 2008 election, when nobody was really paying attention to their charitable giving:

1. Between 1998 and 2006, the Bidens' adjusted gross income (AGI) averaged $236,000 per year, and their average annual charitable contributions averaged just $283, or only $5.44 per week. That compares to an average annual charitable contribution of $1,916 for taxpayers with AGI between $15,000 and $30,000 (according to IRS data). In other words, taxpayers in one of the lowest income brackets ($15,000 to $30,000) were almost 7 times as generous as the Bidens with only about 10% of their income!

2. The Obamas were a little more generous than the Bidens, giving an average of $2,187 annually ($42.06 per week) between the years of 2000 and 2004, on average AGI per year of $243,000, which means the Obamas were just barely more charitable in their giving than those making less than only $30,000 per year.

35 Comments:

At 1/27/2010 10:12 PM, Anonymous Zach Phillips said...

How interesting...

 
At 1/27/2010 10:55 PM, Anonymous Pietro_F said...

Hmm...who really cares? I don't know that anyone of us (meaning you Dr. Perry) is in a position to question someone else's tax-deductable donations...not everyone is invited to donate their opinion to the public (yes, a dig at your blog) and can expect that to be sufficient.

 
At 1/27/2010 11:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree, it's really quite an inane criticism

 
At 1/27/2010 11:38 PM, Anonymous Titus Pullo said...

Why not criticize the Obama's and Biden's? I remember Saturday Night Live in the early 1980s making fun of the Reagan's paltry "literally hundreds of dollars" charitable contributions.

 
At 1/28/2010 12:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm...who really cares?

I don't really care what the Obama's or the Biden's donate, but I do care that they cram their hands into taxpayers pockets, directing the ill gotten gains to their cronies and then call that "caring" and "compassion".

Obama told "Joe the plumber" that we would all be better off if the government were to spread the wealth around. Let him lead by example. Or, STFU.

 
At 1/28/2010 12:17 AM, Blogger OA said...

Inane criticism? You mean the guy who wants to spread the wealth around doesn't really do it with his wealth and who cares?

The other guy says it's "time to step up" but only thinks that when it means other people paying higher taxes?

Can someone write the rules down on when hypocrisy is ok or not? I can never keep it straight. Just when it seems clear like Al Gore shouldn't spew CO2, I have to put an asterisk next to that and note it's an exception to the rule. Does this get an asterisk as well?

 
At 1/28/2010 12:22 AM, Anonymous Benny "Tell It Like It Is" Man said...

Seems like a cheap shot. Is this blog about economics, or lightweight crapping against Democrats?

So, do we post about the Acorn-exposer news guy, who now dresses up like Joe the Telephone Repairman, and tries to bug a Senator's office (a really, really stupid idea and the execution was just incredibly low IQ).

Anecdotes are fun, and so okay, let's yuck it up.

Just take a look federal deficits in the Clinton years and the Bush years.

Now, that ain't so funny.

 
At 1/28/2010 12:27 AM, Blogger bobble said...

That compares to an average annual charitable contribution of $1,916 for taxpayers with AGI between $15,000 and $30,000 (according to IRS data). "

that's not so impressive if you consider that in 2007, Americans directed 61% of their charitable gifts to religious organizations.

now, part of that actually goes to help others, but the other part goes to church buildings and expenses. i don't consider building and maintaining churches "charity".

 
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Whether you have the cash in the bank or not, many collectors are choosing to finance their new purchases through lenders like Banks, Specialty finance or even Mortgage Companies. We thought we'd take the time to talk a few different lenders to gain a clearer picture of what is involved.

 
At 1/28/2010 2:26 AM, Anonymous Jon said...

Jimmy:

well, I dont thing you´re right. Most of the graphs are from official (government) resources and you can check the primary data by yourself. so what gospel do you exactly mean?

and please, dont try to tell us, that government cheat statistics..

I am very glad for this blog and for what mr. Perry does here. I study ecnonomics couple of years and let me tell you something - I would be proud to be a student of mr. Perry. Especialy these days, when FDR´s "reforms" are back in the game and Nobel prize winners like Kruegman are happy about that and ignore the experience with New Deal which was - with no doubt - useless.


(sorry my english, I am from europe)

 
At 1/28/2010 4:19 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> So, do we post about the Acorn-exposer news guy, who now dresses up like Joe the Telephone Repairman, and tries to bug a Senator's office (a really, really stupid idea and the execution was just incredibly low IQ).

Benny "Watch Me Cram My Head Up My Ass" Man once more demonstrates that everything he gets he gets from his parrot-master overlords.

Patterico is on the case:
Law Enforcement Official: No Wiretap Attempt by O’Keefe

Most tellingly:
The WaPo already retracted their idiotic claim... made by the same reporter who was already caught BSing about O'Keefe & co.

Benny Got Served... And it's not even for something he was on-topic on, but a totally irrelevant claim.

Perhaps if Benny had a mind of his own, he'd be able to figure out when something might be appropriate to mention.

 
At 1/28/2010 4:31 AM, Blogger W.E. Heasley said...

Theory and practice appear to diverge in the realm of “one’s own money”.

Apparently Joe and Barack are more attune to Friedman’s fourth category of spending.

 
At 1/28/2010 4:37 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> now, part of that actually goes to help others, but the other part goes to church buildings and expenses. i don't consider building and maintaining churches "charity".

So boobie figures that churches are exactly like the United Way and other similarly bogus charity organizations, which divert large percentages of the receipts towards their own benefit.

He has no basis for this, but somehow is certain it must be so -- after all, churches don't get any money from any other source which they might use for paying those expenses he lists...

There ARE studies as to the "efficiency" of charitable organizations -- that is, "of $100 taken in, how much actually gets into the hands of the objects for the charity?"

Religious organizations tend to consistently rank HIGHER, not lower, than non-religious charities

But boobie would have to actually KNOW something about charities to know this, and it's much easier to cast baseless assertions than to actually investigate.

boobie's objections, as usual, stem from presumption and stupidity, not from any basis in fact or reality -- he dislikes religious organizations, so of course they are as corrupt as any other ones -- more so, in fact, so that religious donations "aren't really donations" -- unlike, say, donations to Ronald McDonald House, which, by virtue of its name, is more of a charitable use of advertising dollars than it is actual charity.

But boobie is just CERTAIN that they are a better charity than (shudder) a lousy stinkin' CHURCH... I mean, like "ew". "ew". "ew".

 
At 1/28/2010 4:45 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

It's real easy to spend other people's money on stuff not for yourself. To do so effectively is another matter. It's why "government charity" is the worst possible sort.

PJ steals freely from Milton Friedman here, as W.E. notes above:

From PJ O'Rourke's All the Trouble in the World: The Lighter Side of Overpopulation, Famine, Ecological Disaster, Ethnic Hatred, Plague, and Poverty:

1. You spend your money on yourself. You're motivated to get the thing you want most at the best price. This is the way middle-aged men haggle with Porsche dealers.
2. You spend your money on other people. You still want a bargain, but you're less interested in pleasing the recipient of your largesse. This is why children get underwear at Christmas.
3. You spend other people's money on yourself. You get what you want but price no longer matters. The second wives who ride around with the middle-aged men in the Porsches do this kind of spending at Neiman Marcus.
4. You spend other people's money on other people. And in this case, who gives a s**t?

Most government spending falls into category four. Which is why the government keeps buying us Hoover Dams, B-1 bombers, raids on Waco cults, and 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Acts.

 
At 1/28/2010 7:44 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Thank you OBH for the fisking of the fools who couldn't be bothered to see the obvious...

Its truly amazing that the whiners can't see the rampant hypocrisy of the Obama crowd but whine that Dr. Perry does offer a salient and factual accounting of the actions of the boob in chief...

It makes me wonder what these same people think about how the Obama administration and the Democrats want to reach into our collective wallets in order to enable more people to leech off the taxpayer?

Instead, let's take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants. And let's tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only ten percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after twenty years - and forgiven after ten years if they choose a career in public service...

 
At 1/28/2010 9:15 AM, Blogger Matt said...

Pietro_F:
"...not everyone is invited to donate their opinion to the public (yes, a dig at your blog)"

Thanks for your opinion, Pietro. It's a little somethin' we call IRONY !

Also know that Blogger is free. Maybe you could name your blog after yourself and teach the rest of the world what irony is...name it "F Pietro" ...just a suggestion.

 
At 1/28/2010 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liberals like Obama and Biden claim to want to help the poor. But the truth is they only want to do so if they can use your money to do it, and even then, they are primarily trying to buy votes with your money. They really don't want the poor to become middle class or their vote buying scheme wouldn't work.

Average Americans do care about the poor (apparrently more than some liberal politicians), but we don't think we should be robbed via taxes in order to redistribute wealth from a distance.

 
At 1/28/2010 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the Obama/Biden relatively low level of charitable contribution typical of those on the left?

I've got to say, like them, I "contribute" what the feds and local government take out of my pocket.

 
At 1/28/2010 11:22 AM, Anonymous morganovich said...

there's an old saying:

watch what i do, not what i say.

substantial disconnects between the two are a sign of insincerity.

i think it's rapidly becoming the hallmark of this administration.

tell others to give, but don't do it yourself.

cancel the DC vouchers program and claim that the best and brightest need to stay at public schools for the benefit of the other kids, then send your kids to private school.

take sweetheart loans, then carp at banker nepotism.

and on and on.

you don't get to have it both ways. you can't call others greedy and then act that way yourself. (without looking like an ass)

these guys need to pick a side of the street and live on it.

personally, i applaud the end to the free ride these jokers have gotten for being on both sides of so many issues.

if more of that had been done prior to the election, we might not be saddled with them.

 
At 1/28/2010 11:22 AM, Blogger Hey-nonny Bosh said...

It is not an inane criticism; what is left out is how GENEROUS Conservatives are vs. Liberals.

Liberals only "give" (via taxation) when ALL are forced to give (and give "their" way...); Conservatives give regardless of and in addition to the collective/forced giving.

Look it up.

 
At 1/28/2010 11:40 AM, Blogger QT said...

OBH,

Well argued. Nice not to have to do it myself...especially the "church" argument...as if in a democracy one should not be free to choose to give to whatever organization one feels benefits one's society the most.

Juandos,

Loved that quote. Why should civil servants and politicians get a free pass from their student loans? This just creates an incentive for folks to run up bigger debts knowing that they will never have to pay.

I loved the old "let's freeze spending"...not reduce it mind you but freeze it after having raised it across the board...and of course with the usual exceptions..and calling up "pay-go" as though that ever worked. After about a minute, Obama was right back on track talking about ways to spend money...2nd stimulus, nuclear power plants, alternative energy, jobs bill, infrastructure, etc.

Doesn't even break step on the spending agenda. It's like visiting a parallel universe...especially all of the successes? successes...would you believe we saved 2 million saved jobs???? yeah, unemployment has doubled but there are imaginary jobs saved. I find that hard to believe...i don't think so...you have a sense of humor, Mr. O.

 
At 1/28/2010 12:49 PM, Blogger QT said...

The Spending Freeze that isn't

 
At 1/28/2010 2:30 PM, Anonymous DrTorch said...

bobble said...
"i don't consider building and maintaining churches "charity".

Then, is it any more "charitable" to donate to universities, libraries and museums?

That cuts back on quite a few charities.

 
At 1/28/2010 2:59 PM, Blogger OA said...

Capped repayment on student loans and forgiven loans. I'm all for it. After all, we haven't had such ridiculous incentives to take out excessive debt for almost 2 years.

Many college students can't even handle credit cards, but I'm sure this will work out just fine.

Why not let students do that overseas year and take 5 to 7 years to get their bachelors degree? Who cares if the graduates can never pay back the loan? Life is about the journey and rich people have more money than is fair.

I had a friend who was the type with a "meat is murder" bumper sticker. His wife decided to go to law school and got into a top 20 (25?) program. The plan was she would work and let him take 2 years off of work, then both would work. After racking up $70,000 in debt or whatever and graduating, she refused to get a corporate or other "sell out" type of job. Last I heard about 4 years after graduating she hadn't worked at all.

He complained that the government should have paid for her school. Of course his wife was the poster child for why government shouldn't do that. But I'm sure she was the exception and every future student will prudently take out debt they can repay.

 
At 1/28/2010 3:21 PM, Blogger bobble said...

OBH bloviates:"So boobie figures that churches are exactly like the United Way and other similarly bogus charity organizations . . ."

no, i never said that and i don't 'figure' that either. i think religious organizations can be very efficient at charity work.

however, what i stated was: "part of [ a religious donation] actually goes to help others, but the other part goes to church buildings and expenses".

i have provided two links below that support this.

i notice that, as usual, you have provided no support for your various assertions.


"Research by Mark Chaves, a sociology professor at the University of Arizona who was principal investigator of the 1998 National Congregations Study, the first comprehensive study of churches and their spending, showed that less than 3 percent of the average congregation's total budget was spent on social services." link


"[A] study by John McCarthy of Pennsylvania State University . . . estimated that congregations may be spending only 15 to 20 percent of their income . . . on social services" link

 
At 1/28/2010 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Research by Mark Chaves, a sociology professor at the University of Arizona ...

[A] study by John McCarthy of Pennsylvania State University ...

Wow, marxists conducting studies that cast a shadow on the church, who could have guessed?

The universities are a sewer of anti-religious thought, I would not trust anything they have to say on the subject.

 
At 1/28/2010 3:57 PM, Anonymous Silkie said...

Bush and Cheney gave FAR more to charity than Clinton, Kerry, Gore, Edwards, Obama, or Biden.

Kerry, for example is married to a billionaire and for two years in the 90s he gave absolutely nothing to charity. In the other years, his contributions were a pittance.

Liberals think that their legislation is charity, so why give from their own wallets?

 
At 1/28/2010 4:14 PM, Anonymous Lyle said...

Bobble has it correctly regarding churches if you look at their total take. An awful lot goes to their edifice complex, and paying the staff. A small part of the total take goes to charity. Christian organizations devoted to charity are a different story however and are efficient givers to the needy.
A lot of what is called benevolence is paying for the higher denominational structure (regional,national) such as bishops and church councils and the like.

 
At 1/28/2010 5:22 PM, Blogger Marko said...

Its funny that no wealth leftist that I know of, even those that donate enormous sums to charity, gives extra money to the government.

If the government handles our money so well and is so worthy of more of our tax money, why do they give their donations to charitable donations? Why not the government they love so damn much?

 
At 1/28/2010 8:02 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Forget the charity, millionaire Obama lets his own brother live in squalor in a slum in Kenya on less than a dollar a month. He can't even be bothered to arrange some no-show union job with the Daley machine in Chicago?



This is the same President Wonderful
who routinely exclaims in his speeches, "I am my brother's keeper."


And don't forget his aunt.

Now to Benny to bring up agricultural subsidies, or some other irrelevant crap.

 
At 1/28/2010 8:07 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Hey QT...

Funny but some of the folks at the airline I work with said that Obama was NOW moving to the right...

I guess they don't know feints when they see one...

Your comment: "I loved the old "let's freeze spending"...not reduce it mind you but freeze it after having raised it across the board...and of course with the usual exceptions..and calling up "pay-go" as though that ever worked"...

I tried to explain to some of these folks (ex John Edwards supporters) that what Obama had basically said, 'I'm going to jack up your rent/house note by 25% starting now but I won't raise it for the next couple of years'...

I think Mark Steyn offered up a good explanation: The SotU, on the other hand, is not a legislative agenda in any meaningful sense: It's monarchical theatre without the underlying political reality, the worst of all worlds. The president is not proposing policies so much as striking attitudes according to his needs of the moment — the "Don't ask, don't tell" sham being the most obvious last night, but much of the rest (fiscal responsibility, pro-business policies, etc) falling into the same category...

 
At 1/29/2010 10:45 AM, Blogger QT said...

Juandos,

Nice one from Steyn.

Unfortunately, a lot of folks didn't look too carefully at the package and it is difficult to admit when you've been taken. Obama is fortunate to live in the age of the calculator where folks don't even know how to calculate 10%....there is no free lunch...95% of families cannot have a tax cut; someone has to pay the freight on the spending express.

Bobble,

The core function of a church is not charitable outreach but spiritual guidance. Is there not value in providing social support, counselling services, life and relationship training, youth courses in leadership development as well as sermons, weddings, and funeral services?

I can agree that churches often spend a great deal on building maintenance. This is largely influenced by the number of historic structures. One either finds value in architecture or one does not but renovation and restoration are usually more expensive than knocking down the structure and building new. Replacing a slate roof for example is several times the cost of an asphalt shingle roof.

While you have stated that you don't consider a church a charity, do you find value in the services that it offers aside from charitable outreach?

 
At 1/30/2010 1:25 PM, Blogger The Gold Digger said...

Wow. Almost no money to any charity. Nothing that Biden or Obama found worthy of supporting. On an AGI of half that, my husband and I gave $6,500 in 2009. We are working our way up to tithing. Not easy, but that's our goal. And no, it's not all to the church. But even if it were, so what? The point is that neither of them could see fit to part with their money.

 
At 2/01/2010 6:55 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Then, is it any more "charitable" to donate to universities, libraries and museums?

Nice point.

> i notice that, as usual, you have provided no support for your various assertions.

"as usual"? BWAAAAhahahahhaaaaa!

I include links easily 10x as often as you do. Try getting your cranium out of your... well, you know where it is by the smell...

I didn't feel like looking up the old articles I know exist on this matter. I still don't. And I don't need to, because your brain-damaged articles DON'T SAY WHAT YOU CLAIM THEY SAY.

I quote (emphasis mine):

showed that less than 3 percent of the average congregation's total budget was spent on social services."

The CONGREGATION. That's a specific THING -- and is specifically not synonymous with "Charitable organization".

Money given by the congregation to the Catholic church is NOT the same thing as money given to Catholic Charities. Sorta DUH if you know anything about either or both of those, but that would require your cranium to not be... well, you smell it.

More importantly at THAT link is this tidbit (emphasis mine):
FEGS, like Safe Spaces, is mostly supported by income from government contracts, and Mr. Tisch cited that as the biggest reason giving to human services has shrunk. "Why should a philanthropist pay if the government will?" he asked.

Translation: Government money chases out True Charity.

"Hey, they already stole it from me to give it to someone I don't think deserves it! Why the hell should I give up even more?"

Or even the somewhat more benign but equally useless:
"Hey I voted for government handouts to them, why should I give them still more?"

Your second link makes the same clueless error of confusing tithes, which are specifically designed for the support of the church and its needs, vs. religious charities which are specifically designed to help the needy.

So your links and quotes say NOTHING about the effectiveness of religious charities.

Assuming you were seriously basing your opinions on that error in association, you need to more carefully analyze the charities in question which you support. There are bogus religious charities like any other, but religious charities as a whole do better than many others in efficiency.

I do, seriously, not recommend ANYONE EVER give any money to The United Way.

In general (exceptions may exist) it's usually acked as a complete load of CRAP in terms of efficiency of donation use -- the percentage of each $100 donated which gets to those who need it is pitiful, and many of its constituent organizations are money-manipulation devices designed to either keep money in a group (cronies of some fat cat or family) or even to actually launder ill-gotten gains (SF author James P. Hogan actually detailed how to do it in one of his short stories some years ago -- I forget which book/short, sorry, but as a novelist he hasn't done a lot of shorts, so it should be readily identifiable).

That's all "opinion" based on what I've been told, heard about, and so forth, so take it as a cautionary tale that you might want to investigate The United Way more thoroughly on your own before giving them anything -- capisce?

> Liberals think that their legislation is charity, so why give from their own wallets?

Indeed, as I also suggest above.

Lyle:
You appear to make the same confusion between the Edifice of The Church, with its associated monies, and the Actions of Church Charities, with its associated monies. They are not the same, and are far more thoroughly separated than your Social Security taxes and your Income taxes, for example.

 
At 2/01/2010 6:59 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> there is no free lunch...95% of families cannot have a tax cut; someone has to pay the freight on the spending express.


Indeed:

"...the American people [have] started losing the hard common sense that had won them a continent. By the sixties everyone talked about his 'rights' and no one spoke of his duties -- and patriotism was a subject for jokes.
... I recall one candidate's promise that I heard during the presidential campaign of 1976, a campaign promise that seems to me to illustrate how far American rationality had skidded,
. 'We shall drive ever forward along this line until all our citizens have above-average incomes!'
. Nobody laughed."

- Robert A. Heinlein, 'To Sail Beyond the Sunset' -

 

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