Thursday, October 30, 2008

Charity begins at home

In his speeches Obama is a big fan of the sad anecdote, referencing families that aren't sure how they will pay the current month's electrical bill or letters from voters who can't afford potentially life-saving medical procedures. But if it's stories of the downtrodden he is after he could have simply talked about his own family.

He could mention both the half-brother in Africa that claims he subsists on one dollar per month or the aunt that lives in public housing in Boston. Then again that might be an uncomfortable discussion in light of Obama's comparatively far more prosperous circumstances.

Given the leftist philosophy that taking care of the poor is the government's responsibility rather than that of individuals or civil society this really shouldn't be a surprise. It has already been well documented that liberals -- perhaps believing that their tax dollars are a social contribution of sorts -- donate significantly less money to charities than conservatives. Obama is no exception, only ramping up his charitable donations after his thoughts began to turn to the presidency. A look at his tax returns:

Source: TaxProf

Even here, however, we can see that the money wasn't exactly all donated to Habitat for Humanity:
Senator Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, sharply increased their charitable donations as Mr. Obama began to run for president and the family’s income increased from book sales, according to tax returns that the couple released on Tuesday.

Some of the largest donations went to the Trinity United Church of Christ, whose pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., has been in the news for inflammatory messages in his sermons, causing Mr. Obama to distance himself from Mr. Wright, his former spiritual mentor.

All told, the couple gave $27,500 to the church in 2005 and 2006.
Thought exercise: imagine media coverage of this if it was McCain, the greedy Republican who advocated tax cuts for the rich, while he had family members languishing in poverty. Further imagine that he only increased his charitable donations when it became apparent he was considering a run for the presidency and then donated a good chunk of the money to an inflammatory racist pastor. I'm just saying...

No comments: