It is an honor to post punditry provided by Patrick Poole, whose primary outpost is at Central Ohioans Against Terrorism.
Patrick makes great points about the charitable giving record (spreading the wealth, as it were) of the Democrats’ “Do as I say, not as I do” ticket, and its sharp contrast with John McCain:
Obama and Biden Refused to Spread Their Wealth
By Patrick Poole
Thinking about Barack Obama’s impromptu lecture to Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher about his plans to “spread the wealth,” I wondered whether Obama was a practitioner of his own “spread the wealth” principles when he had the opportunity to do so, or whether he was the cheap political opportunist and redistributor of the wealth of others that he appeared to be.
Looking at Obama’s charitable giving in since 2000 based on his tax returns, we find that Obama consistently refused to follow his own advice to “spread the wealth” when he had the opportunity to do so. This is especially true in years when he made nearly $250,000 or more. Their contributions didn’t increase until Barack Obama’s extraordinary book deal helped make him a millionaire and Michelle Obama received nearly $200,000 raise in May 2005 when she assumed a new position with her employer as vice president of “community and external affairs” – coincidentally, just months after he husband joined the US Senate.
As the chart below shows (HT: TaxProf Blog, who has PDF links to all returns listed), from 2000-2004, Obama’s charitable giving averaged less than 1 percent:
In fact, during that 2000-2004 period Obama gave substantially less than the average family making more than $150,000, which averages giving of 2.2 percent of total income according to University of George Professor Russell James. And a study published in January by the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy found that nationwide in 2004 more than two-thirds of American households – the vast majority of which made significantly less than the $207,647 Obama made that year – still gave an average of over $2,000, or 3 percent of their income.
Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, was even stingier about spreading his wealth. When his tax records were released in September, they revealed that over the past decade he had only donated an average of $369 each year. In 2007, his charitable giving was only $995, or 0.3 percent of income in a year when his tax returns reported $319,853 in income.
By comparison, John McCain gave more than one-quarter of his income in 2006 and 2007 (28.6 and 27.3 percent respectively). And according to the New York Observer, since 1998, he has donated royalties on his books totaling more than $1.8 million.
When Barack Obama and Joe Biden could voluntarily give more of their own income and had the means well beyond most Americans to do so, they refused. In the event that Barack Obama is elected President, however, he and his Democrat allies in Congress intend to force others with the full might of the US government to do what he refused to do on his own.