At least if you're a liberal, that is. The other day, I talked about my experiences receiving government versus church charity. Now, there is a book talking about the personal political and religious philosophies that drive giving. Betsy says this about the Obamas in her post Charitable Giving Through The State:
Of course, individual giving may vary quite widely from these averages. Yet I'd just been thinking of Brooks' findings as Michelle and Barack Obama released their tax returns that showed that they had greatly increased their charitable giving once he had decided to run for president.The Obamas are just one example, and not typical. They are very well off, obviously, if 5% of their taxable income is nearly $80,000. But the idea behind the giving or lack thereof is philosophical. We pay taxes. Taxes are meant to help the poor. And that's that. It's absolution of sorts and a way to disconnect a person from the need that their money would help meet.The Obamas’ returns are striking on a number of levels. They show that the couple made very few charitable contributions, sometimes less than 1 percent of taxable income, until Mr. Obama began his run for the White House.
In 2004, before Mr. Obama entered the Senate, he and his wife gave $2,500 to charity, 1.2 percent of the taxable income. The next year, the donations jumped, to $77,315, or nearly 5 percent of the taxable income.