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Thread: Donating to charity

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    Donating to charity

    I'm not a fan of labels, and the evidence may be cherry picked, but the cases he points out are very interesting. How much should rich politicians donate to charity? How do we separate whether it's from the heart or for political purposes?

    The American Spectator : Liberal Scrooges

    Liberal Scrooges
    By Peter Schweizer on 6.6.08 @ 12:07AM

    Samuel Johnson once reported on a man who was privately stingy but publicly touted the merits of sharing. Dr. Johnson said sarcastically that the man was a "friend of goodness." What he meant was that flesh-and-blood goodness is very different from supporting "Goodness" in the abstract.
    Many modern liberals like to openly discuss their altruism. Garrison Keillor explains that "I am liberal and liberalism is the politics of kindness." But it rarely seems to turn into acts of kindness, especially when it comes to making charitable donations.

    Consider the case of Andrew Cuomo, current New York Attorney General and advocate for the homeless. He has, according to his website, "compassion toward the most vulnerable of us." And this is how the New York Times described the courtship of Kerry Kennedy (of guess which family): "Ms. Kennedy-Cuomo, 43, said she fell in love with Mr. Cuomo, 45, when he took her on a tour of a homeless shelter on their first date and agreed to fast for the labor leader Cesar Chavez."

    But that advocacy should not be confused with actually giving to the less fortunate. Cuomo was a homeless advocate throughout the 1990s, but according to his own tax returns he made no charitable contributions between 1996 and 1999. In 2000 he donated a whopping $2,750. In 2004 and 2005, Cuomo had more than $1.5 million in adjusted gross income but gave a paltry $2,000 to charity.

    Cuomo made no charitable contributions in 2003, when his income was a bit less than $300,000.

    CUOMO IS NOT alone in this Scroogery of course. Barack Obama has a rather poor track record when it comes to charitable contributions. He consistently gave 1 percent of his income to charity. In his most charitable year, 2005, he earned $1.7 million (two and a half times what George W. Bush earned) but gave about the same dollar amount as the President.
    The last two Democratic Party nominees for President have come up short on the charity scale. Al Gore has been famously stingy when it comes to actually giving his own money to charities. In 1998 he was embarrassed when his tax returns revealed that he gave just $353 to charity.
    Gore's office initially defended the action, claiming that the Gores had often given "food and clothing to the homeless." But when no one showed up in cast-off clothes, Gore's spokesman Chris Lehane offered a typical "friend of Goodness" response saying that you could only "truly judge a person's commitment to helping others" you needed to see "what they have done with their lives." In other words, politics was charity work.

    Senator John Kerry likewise has a poor record. In 1995 he gave zero to charity, but did spend $500,000 to buy a half stake in a seventeenth century painting. In 1993, he gave $175 to the needy. Later, of course, Kerry married the rich widow Theresa Heinz, and today is active in charitable causes using the Heinz foundation as his vehicle.

    Senator Ted Kennedy has clearly relished his role over the years as a liberal Robin Hood. He once told Al Hunt of the Wall Street Journal, "I come from an advantaged life, and I'll be goddamned if I'm going to get re-elected to the U.S. Senate by taking food out of the mouths of needy children." But this should not be confused with Senator Kennedy actually giving much money to needy children.

    Kennedy's tax returns are obviously a closely guarded secret. But when he chose to run for President in the 1970s, he released some of them. With a net worth of more than $8 million in the early 1970s and an income of $461,444 from a series of family trusts, Senator Robin Hood gave barely 1 percent of his income to charity. The sum is about as much as Kennedy claimed as a write-off on his fifty-foot sailing sloop Curragh.

    Robert Reich, once Bill Clinton's Secretary of Labor and now a professor at Berkeley, has been outspoken about how greedy conservatives are. Conservatives believe in "reviving social Darwinism" and because of conservatives, "America has placed too high a value on selfishness."
    But when he ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002, he was all but forced to release his tax returns. It's not a pretty picture. Reich's 1040 reveals an income of more than $1 million, much of it giving speeches to corporations and universities for up to $40,000 a pop. He contributed just $2,714 to charity, or .2 percent of his income -- note the decimal -- and not all of that was cash. Part of it was the value of a donation of a used drum set to an organization called City of Peace.

    Jesse Jackson has often claimed that he operates from a "liberal spirit of compassion and love" while conservatives are "heartless and uncaring toward the silent poor." But according to his publicly-released tax returns, he regularly donates less than 1 percent to charity.

    Jackson and his family have also established a charitable foundation called the Jackson Foundation to support the underprivileged. According to tax records, the foundation board is controlled by family members and they receive large contributions from corporations. In 2004, for example, they collected $964,000 from corporations like McDonald's, Anheuser-Busch, and GMAC.

    When asked on the tax form to described "direct charitable activities," the foundation responded: "none." From the close to million dollars collected, they gave away only $46,000 to a couple of colleges. The Jackson Foundation spent nearly twice that amount -- $84,172 -- on a "gala celebration" in honor of -- you guessed it -- Jesse Jackson.

    NOR IS THIS liberal tightfistedness anything new. The greatest liberal icon of the 20th Century is Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He is regarded by many on the left as the personification of charity and compassion, but FDR actually has a slim record when it comes to giving to charity.

    Roosevelt had an average income of $93,000 ($1.3 million in today's dollars) but gave away about 3 percent of his income to charity. In 1935, during the height of the Great Depression, when people really could have used it, he donated just 2 percent.

    This evidence of liberal hypocrisy is damning enough, but what really amazes is how poorly these liberals do in comparison to so-called "heartless conservatives." President Ronald Reagan, for instance, was often called heartless and callous by liberals. Unlike Roosevelt or JFK, Reagan was not a wealthy man when he became president. He had no family trust or investment portfolio to fall back on.

    And yet, according to his tax returns, Reagan donated more than four times more to charity -- both in terms of actual money and on a percentage basis -- than Senator Ted Kennedy. And he gave more to charities with less income than FDR did. In 1985, for example, he gave away 6 percent of his income.

    George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have continued this Reagan record. During the early 1990s, George W. Bush regularly gave away more than 10 percent of his income. In 2005, Vice President Dick Cheney gave away 77 percent of his income to charity. He was actually criticized by some liberal bloggers for this, who claimed he was getting too much of a tax deduction.

    The main point of liberal compassion appears to be making liberals feel good about their superior virtue. Such are the rewards of being a "friend of goodness."
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Colonist Senior Contributor
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    I live in an upperclass area of my city and I do so because Im relitively lucky - by - chance, but your aticle has similarities here too. I don't have a particularly great disposable income - and the money I do get I consider it by the grace of good that I have work.

    In the mall there is one charity in particular whoose volunteers stand upright all day not interfering with anyone with "Feed Adelaides Hungy" on the tins... I understand it that the money goes directly to buying food for the homeless... Now as you know they probably get a couple of tins - supplied in bulk, costing a total of a few dollars - and they are fed for the night.

    It's not that hard to do is it - and usually I put whatever small change I have in their tins. But I notice I am a rare occurance in this respect. I am dismayed by the amount of women in their $500+ clothing ware and equally expensive handbags, as well as the guys whoose main concern is to tuft their hair & buying the best food available at the supermarket... and cannot afford a few dollars at the very most to slip into the tin. Some folk would be well advised to remember what life was like when they were trying to get started. Out to the carpark they all trot, hop in their BMW's/Mercedes that they buy every few years loosing 10's of thousands of dollars on... and I hop into the everyday work hack...

    They are people that could drop a 100 and not notice it missing and had they helped out it would have made a direct & physical impact on helping the poor.

    They are not people I would welcome in my house!
    Last edited by Chunder; 06 Sep 09, at 15:35.

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    I wonder how the sense of entitlement that Americans seem to often have impacts donations and at what point someone feels entitled to their riches and therefore won't give or if there's a point where you are so far above that you just don't know to give?
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Lord High Hullabalooster Senior Contributor dalem's Avatar
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    The studies and evidence that we have so far do seem to indicate that liberals tend to give less money to charity, and certainly they effectively never choose to pay extra taxes when offered the chance.

    Thing is, it is tacitly accepted that conservatives are held to a higher degree of moral standard sinply because the are perceived as being more concerned with moral standards. Whether that's fair or not, it seems like an inevitable result. So why not hold liberals to a higher standard where charitable giving is concerned? Or at least a standard?

    Also, liberalism is about spending time on safe intangible fights as opposed to concrete enemies who can scratch your paint.

    -dale
    Last edited by dalem; 06 Sep 09, at 19:30.

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    Philanthropy

    Bloomberg's personal net worth, in addition to aiding his political career, has allowed him to engage in substantial philanthropic endeavors, including the donation of over US $300 million to Johns Hopkins University, where he served as the chairman of the board from 1996 to 2002.

    According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Bloomberg donated and/or pledged $138 million in 2004, $144 million in 2005, $165 million in 2006, and $205 million in 2007, making him the seventh largest individual contributor to philanthropy in the United States for 2007. 2006 recipients include the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School for Public Health; World Lung Foundation and the World Health Organization. In 2008, Bloomberg's website announced a combined donation of $500 million with Bill Gates to help governments in developing countries with tobacco control.

    According to The New York Times, Bloomberg has been an “anonymous donor” to the Carnegie Corporation each year for the last several years, with gifts ranging from $5–$20 million. The Carnegie Corporation has distributed this contribution to hundreds of New York City organizations ranging from the Dance Theater of Harlem to Gilda’s Club, a not-for-profit organization that provides support to people and families living with cancer.

    In 1996, Bloomberg endowed the William Henry Bloomberg Professorship at Harvard with a $3 million gift in honor of his father, who died in 1963, saying, "throughout his life, he recognized the importance of reaching out to the nonprofit sector to help better the welfare of the entire community." He also endowed his hometown synagogue, Temple Shalom, which was renamed for his parents as the William and Charlotte Bloomberg Jewish Community Center of Medford.
    Michael Bloomberg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I don't like him that much but hes the best that we can get in NYC.

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    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Myself, I'd rather donate time than money. But then again, money's been fairly tight so far in my adult life. I think the last time I did anything charitable was when I happened to walk into a house party to find a friend 2 years back, on my way out was confronted by police who gave me a noisy assembly ticket. I organized a food drive in my 18-story campus co-op (instead of giving old clothes like most of the others did). It did make me feel pretty good.

    I suspect though that those who are well-off and tight-fisted with their money (like the examples above) are just as tight-fisted with their time. I imagine that a Sen. Kennedy or Kerry would spend most of their free time on a yacht or lounging around on the Vineyard with a good mixed drink.

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    Here's a question

    Could some of the perceived discrepancy be based on religious beliefs?

    Members of more fundamentalist Christian churchs tend to be politically conservative. And by the tenets of their faith the church members are expected to tithe...that is to give 10% of their income to their church. That could certainly increase the dollars given by the more conservative over the more liberal.

    As a Catholic, I give regularly on Sundays and throw in a little extra for the building fund, etc. But most of my charity work goes on outside of the Church (Red Cross, Boy Scouts, a local hospice, etc.) As others have mentioned I tend to give my time more than my dollars....does that make me less charitable than someone who tithes?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    Myself, I'd rather donate time than money. But then again, money's been fairly tight so far in my adult life. I think the last time I did anything charitable was when I happened to walk into a house party to find a friend 2 years back, on my way out was confronted by police who gave me a noisy assembly ticket. I organized a food drive in my 18-story campus co-op (instead of giving old clothes like most of the others did). It did make me feel pretty good.

    I suspect though that those who are well-off and tight-fisted with their money (like the examples above) are just as tight-fisted with their time. I imagine that a Sen. Kennedy or Kerry would spend most of their free time on a yacht or lounging around on the Vineyard with a good mixed drink.
    If you can't give money, give blood! I am over 2 gallons donated. I also donate money as I can to DAV, Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Stand Up To Cancer, Fill the Boot and Toys Tor Toys. I have also given public speeches on my recovery from drugs and the benefits of going to back to and working hard at school. I don't give much, just as I can, but its real giving not a tax break.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Could some of the perceived discrepancy be based on religious beliefs?

    Members of more fundamentalist Christian churchs tend to be politically conservative. And by the tenets of their faith the church members are expected to tithe...that is to give 10% of their income to their church. That could certainly increase the dollars given by the more conservative over the more liberal.

    As a Catholic, I give regularly on Sundays and throw in a little extra for the building fund, etc. But most of my charity work goes on outside of the Church (Red Cross, Boy Scouts, a local hospice, etc.) As others have mentioned I tend to give my time more than my dollars....does that make me less charitable than someone who tithes?
    No, but since you seem to be practicing the tenets of the Christan faith; faith-attending services and love- giving time and money to the less fortunate wouldn't you be a fundamentalist.

    Woman make 84% of all charitable donations

    Religious people give more than non-religious, both to and outside of religious based charities.

    25% of all giving is done between Thanksgiving and Christmas

    Individuals account for 82% of the $300 billion donated in America every year.

    A third of Americans have wills, and 1/3 of them donate part of their estate to charities.

    Religion is the biggest charity recipient at 34% of all money given. Education is second at 14%.

    *** Philanthropy media expert charitable giving statistics graphs for media magazines TV newspapers by Dr. Brian Kluth

    In 2007, over 60 million Americans donated time.

    26% of Americans Volunteer, New Study Finds - Philanthropy.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles
    As others have mentioned I tend to give my time more than my dollars....does that make me less charitable than someone who tithes?
    Technically tithing is supposed to include donating time.
    I enjoy being wrong too much to change my mind.

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    I donate clothes and household items to charity shops and also give directly to hobos to buy drink. I guess if all you have in the world is a few pennies you too would buy booze to warm your cockels.I know I would.
    Thing about charities is all the cash that goes on staff wages and beaurocracy etc.
    I prefer to give the hobo my cash directly.

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    I have a friend who was in inner mongolia on business when he recieved a telegram (yes they still have them!) that his brother had died.
    He needed €3000 to get back in time for the funeral (he didnt have anywhere near enough). There was a waitress in the hotel he was staying at who offered to give him her life savings of bout €900 to help get him back in time. He reckons it was about a years wages for her.

    Aparently it was some backwater with very little electricity and no running water. She lived in a small hut with her husband. He didnt take the money (he managed to find another way to get the money).

    That was the most charitable thing ive ever heard of. Poor people are so much more generous than the rich. Can you imagine that happening in the west?

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    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    How much of the discrepancy is giving to charities but not claiming it on their taxes?

    I know some people that do that because they think its not charity if you are doing it for tax purposes.

    Or don't claim it because the amount of tax credit you receive isn't worth the hassle/cost of the required record keeping.
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

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    Senior Contributor bonehead's Avatar
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    All this seems rather silly to me. I give to charity what I can and feel I should. If Uncle Sam wants to give me credit for it then fine, but impressing others or a tax refund is not in my heart when I give. I give solely for the purpose of helping other people. I do not care what others give as that is their business.

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