Just saw a report on the amount of charitable giving among politicians and it provoked me to do a little googling. Here are some of the things I found. On the charitable giving of our Vice President, Joseph Biden during the year 2007:
“The Bidens reported earning $319,853 last year , including $71,000 in royalties for his memoir, Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics. The Bidens reported giving $995 in charitable donations . . . — about 0.3% of their income and the highest amount in the past decade. The low was $120 in 1999, about 0.1% of yearly income. Over the decade, the Bidens reported a total of $3,690 in charitable donations, or 0.2% of their income. Biden spokesman David Wade said in an e-mail that the Bidens ‘also contribute to their favorite causes with their time as well as their checkbooks.’” [If the Bidens gave the equivalent amount of time per week that they do in writing checks, that means that they would have to spend almost a whole minute at the soup kitchen -- per week.]
The amount of giving always goes up during campaigns. So the Obamas gave gave more than $240,000 to charity in 2007, or about 5.7% of their income. And, last year, the Obamas gave 6.5% ($172,050) to charity. That marked a whopping 5.5% INCREASE over what they had been giving prior to being elected to the White House. In 2000, when they made $240,726, they gave $2,350 to charity, or about 1% of their income. A truly stunning display of compassion, no?
In 2007, New York Governor David Paterson made $269,000, but only donated $150 (in clothing) to the Salvation Army. Governor, did you make sure you got a receipt for those pants and shirts? You know how suspicious the IRS can be when they see a whole 0.02% of your income being deducted for charitable giving.
And this isn’t only true of Democrats. In 2007 (another election year), Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential candidate, gave only 1.5% to charity (and yes, that’s the total amount of charitable giving of the combined incomes of the Palin household). When former Vice President Dick Cheney was asked about his meager donations (around 1% of his income from 1989-99), he responded, “It’s a private matter … a matter of private choice.”
Indeed it is and that tells me just about all I need to know about why we’re having all the financial troubles we’re having. When the average American gives on average only 2.5% of his annual income, and the average evangelical gives only 4.5%, we’re in deep feculence.
Why do we feel compelled to try to prove that we can rob God and still prosper?