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Biden is Stingy With His Charitable Giving

by Keith Koffler on April 21, 2011, 10:47 am

President Barack Obama put Vice President Biden in charge of giving away your money, making him the public face of $789 billion stimulus program. But when it came to giving away his own money, Biden was not so aggressive.

According to their 2010 tax returns, the vice president and his wife donated a total of $5,350 to charity, a mere 1.4 percent of their sizable $379,178 in pretax earnings and well below the average amount donated by their more generous countrymen.

Biden and the Obamas

Listen, can you guys loan me some money so I can donate more to charity?

According the the Bureau of Labor statistics, Americans in 2007 gave an average of 2.2 percent of their pre-tax income to charity. The poorest among us were the most generous – far more so than the Bidens – donating 4.3 percent of their incomes to those in need.

Making matters worse in the vice president’s case, $950 worth of the Bidens’ donations wasn’t cash at all. It was their old stuff – clothes and household items valued at a quarter of their original price.

Remarkably, the Bidens have actually stepped up their charitable giving since he became vice president and the spotlight hit.

In the decade before his nomination to be vice president, Biden and his wife donated about 0.2 percent of their income, averaging a measly $369 in annual donations.

By comparison, the Obamas in 2010 were vastly more generous. They gave $245,000 on $1.725 million in earnings – mainly from his books – or 14 percent of their income, exactly ten times the percentage donated by the stingy Second Couple.

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Ted April 21, 2011 at 10:57 am

I thought Liberal people all were big givers. They pretty much worked and give all the time to help the poor? I also thought that Liberals claimed republicans had lots of money and were all rich. People talk like Biden is poor, well he makes over 7 1/2 times more than I made. Plus I didn’t get all kinds of comps, freebies, give a ways, etc, etc that politicians get. What a joke!!! Remember Obama that little regular guy from the South side of Chicago? Well over a Million dollar home, his net worth, etc. How come no one that should see these things are blind to them????

Susan April 21, 2011 at 11:14 am

Ted, Liberals are very generous when it comes to spending other people’s money. When it comes to their own money it’s a totally different story. The Obama’s knew their charitable donations would be released to the public and their donations, specifically to military families, is a smart campaign move. The Biden’s are notorious tightwads.

Star April 21, 2011 at 11:15 am

I was going to say I didn’t want to judge charity–then I saw he took the old clothes…

qestout April 21, 2011 at 11:20 am

Is this same cheapskate who smarts off and leaves w/o paying for frozen custard?

Oh, Yes. Smart Lad Wanted.

Keith Koffler April 21, 2011 at 11:45 pm

forgot about that one. Thanks qestout.

George Stern April 21, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I seem to recall that the Reagans also had a reputation for stinginess. That is why any talk of having nonprofits take up the slack when the government underfunds social services and education is just that — talk. Nonprofit donations don’t go up when the wealthy get tax breaks (in fact, they have less incentive to give), any more than jobs get created.

Susan April 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Isn’t it funny how history repeats itself? Nonprofits said the same thing during the Reagan years and they were proven to be wrong…
It is a form of tough love, pulling nonprofits away from the government trough, but it is possible.

George Stern April 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm

You miss the point. I was simply pointing out that wealthier folks simply do not give more just because the government gives less, or even because it lowers taxes. And many — like the Bidens and the Reagans — give an embarrassingly small % to charity. Unless I misread it, the article does not say otherwise. A snapshot 20 years after the fact also proves very little, since in the interim taxes went up and down, government spending for specific programs changed, etc. I would also point out that I am talking about social service giving, not giving to the arts and culture, or big ticket gifts to universities so you can get your name on a wall.

Susan April 21, 2011 at 7:57 pm

No, I didn’t miss the point but you might have. The article is a historical overview of how charitable donations increased and nonprofits flourished as a result of Reaganomics. As far as the Reagan’s being tightwads, I don’t accept anyone’s recollection as fact. I wouldn’t mind seeing some proof if you have it (and I don’t mean that has-been Stephen King’s speech).

George Stern April 22, 2011 at 9:05 am

Note that the article does not say which non-profits “flourished.” I bet it wasn’t those that help the poor. Remember, big donors generally give to places they can attach their names to. Also, a 20-year look proves nothing. How does the increase compare to inflation? How does it compare to need?

William April 21, 2011 at 1:44 pm

It’s George W Bush’s fault. Biden would have given 30% to charity if it weren’t for the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

Keith Koffler April 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm

That Bush. The evil just keeps coming.

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