Sunday, October 12, 2008

Candidate Charitable Giving

Way back in May, I posted about the presidential candidates' charitable giving (or lack there of). Well, now the vice presidential candidates have released their returns as well, so I figured it was worth revisiting. In summary, I am appalled by the lack of charitable giving by the people who are vying for the opportunity to run our country.

Before talking about the vice presidential candidates, let me update a couple of things from the previous post. McCain has since released a snapshot of his wife's return for 2006. This, combined with a misread of his return on my part, makes his giving much less impressive. First, I said that he gave 28.6% to charity in 2006 but I didn't notice that part of this was carryover from the previous year. In actuality, he gave 19% which is still good until you consider that he claims half of the family's combined giving so when you factor in Cindy's $6 million dollar AGI, the combined giving is reduced to right at 2%. Their charitable giving nearly doubled for 2007 but we still don't know what Cindy made in 2007 so I can't give a percentage.

Now, on to the VP are the numbers:

Bidens Palins
Year AGI ($K) Gifts (%) AGI ($K) Gifts (%)
2007 320 0.31 166 2.0
2006 248 0.15 128 3.8
2005 321 0.12 * *
2004 234 0.16 * *
2003 231 0.11 * *
2002 228 0.11 * *
2001 221 0.16 * *
2000 220 0.16 * *
1999 211 0.06 * *
1998 214 0.09 * *

* Not released

No, those are not typos, Joe Biden and his wife have averaged $369 in charitable giving over the past decade, or 0.15% percent of there AGI. WOW! This is despicable. As, I mentioned in my previous post, the average American gives ~2.2% of their AGI. I find it particularly disgraceful that candidates running on a platform of increased taxes for the rich to support programs for the less fortunate give at these low levels. If you want to support programs for the less fortunate, do it by giving to charity. While the Palins giving is certainly not staggering, given their relatively low AGI compared to the other candidates, these numbers are not bad.

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