Friday, September 12, 2008
Joe Biden today released ten years of his personal income tax returns, drawing further attention to the tax issues raised by Sarah Palin's tax problems associated with her per diem reimbursements while governor of Alaska.
I wonder, though, if the move might backfire because the returns show that the Bidens have been amazingly tight-fisted when it comes to their charitable giving. Despite income ranging from $210,432 - $321,379 over the ten-year period, the Bidens have given only $120 - $995 per year to charity, which amounts to 0.06% - 0.31% of their income:
It is jarring that a couple earning over $200,000 per year would give as little as $2 per week to charity. This giving compares very unfavorably to John McCain, whose tax returns show that he gave 27.3% - 28.6% of his income to charity in 2006-2007. During the same period, the Obamas' tax returns show that they gave 5.8% - 6.1% of their income to charity.
Perhaps the Obama-Biden campaign needs a new slogan: "Change You Can Believe In (As Long As Someone Else Pays For It)"
Update: Independent Sector reports that 89% of American households contribute to charity, with an average contribution of $1,620 -- 3.1% of income.
IRS statistics reveal that the average taxpayer with AGI over $200,000 makes over $20,000 of charitable contributions:
- $15,000-$30,000 AGI: $1,916 average charitable deduction
- $30,000-$50,000 AGI: $2,158 average charitable deduction
- $50,000-$100,000 AGI: $2,703 average charitable deduction
- $100,000-$200,000 AGI: $4,057 average charitable deduction
- $200,000 or more of AGI: $20,434 average charitable deduction
Press and blogosphere coverage:
- ABC News
- Above the Law
- Associated Press
- Business Week
- New York Times
- Washington Post