The Obama campaign is assailing Gov. Mitt Romney for failing to release his taxes and for paying only around a 15 percent rate, but it fails to note one of the reasons for Romney’s relatively moderate payment: He donates enormous sums of tax-deductible money to charity.
In fact, during a comparable period before Obama and Romney were running for president, Romney’s giving probably was at least ten times Obama’s as a percentage of their incomes, and possibly much more.
Romney has stated that he has long given at least 10 percent of his earnings to his Mormon church. Assuming this is true – and he’d probably have to be classified as a pathological liar if it’s not – the Romneys’ giving has dwarfed that of the Obamas, whose charitable contributions only increased in direct proportion to President Obama’s political activity.
According to an analysis of Obama’s tax returns by White House Dossier, the Obamas in the five years from 2000 to 2004 gave only in the range of 0.4 percent to 1.4 percent of their adjusted gross income to charity.
And the Obamas were hardly paupers during these years, most of which show earnings of well over $200,000. They gave less than the average for that income range, which has been estimated at close to 3 percent.
In 2005, Obama’s first year as a U.S. senator, the Obamas upped their giving to 4.7 percent of income. His income also raced up to $1.66 million owing to his celebrity-induced book sales. But the increase in giving is more likely related to Obama’s political ambitions, since on average those who make more than $1 million don’t donate much more as a percentage of their income than those making in the $200,000 range.
Even in the the years he was running for president, Obama gave less than Romney has in the past two years. The Obamas’ giving totaled 5.8 percent of income in 2007, when he made $4.1 million, and 6.5 percent of the $2.6 million he earned in 2008.
Romney’s estimated 2011 tax return shows he gave 19.2 percent of his income to charity, while his 2010 return puts his giving at 13.8 percent of his income.
Only in the past two years have the Obamas finally started giving comprable amounts, donating 14 percent of their income in 2010 and 21.8 percent in 2011.
Meanwhile, Vice President Biden has not allowed political considerations to affect his stinginess. The Bidens gave 1.5 percent of their income to charity in 2011.