Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.
I always find it interesting to see how much politicians give to charity. Senator Joe Biden gave a paltry $995 last year, yet he made $2,450,042! And his $995 to nonprofits was over twice his normal yearly giving for the past 9 out of 10 years. Why do I say paltry? Because many teens I know give more money from their part time job income than he gave in his past average donations. Biden made almost $2.5 million but gave such a little amount... amazing.
Actually, I am surprised at his Scrooge-ishness, because Biden says he is a Catholic. I would have thought he would have given his church more. (David Wade, a spokesperson, said the Bidens did give to their church, “The charitable
contributions claimed by the Bidens on their tax returns are not the
sum of their annual contributions to charity.” That could be the case. But why they wouldn't record these donations and put them on their tax return is beyond me, since that is such a standard practice. It raises the question, if you aren't claiming the entire amount, then why list any at all?)
I was thinking about stinginess vs. generosity again today when I looked at our church bulletin. I usually check the offering report for the previous week and often am pleasantly surprised at the dollar amounts listed. Our congregation almost always gives above the amount needed to stay on budget, and they do this without coercion.
The associate pastor does remind us from time to time that all we have is from God and that He allows us to keep around 90%. But there is no heavy handed tithe requirement or even a hint that giving more makes God love you more. The love is supposed to be coming from us to God in the giving, and it is evident in our church. Often people give more than the usual 10%. Many of these families are not wealthy and some are large, having 4 or more children.
Given that Al Gore and his wife gave a pittance, coupled with Biden's ridiculous amount, and the Obamas only recently gave above their 1% average, to me shows a selfishness. God instructs us to give Him the first of our fruits, not the left-overs. We are to trust Him to take care of us. (In fact, that was the subject of our sermon today, from a series on The Sermon on the Mount, Oct. 5, 2008)*
It's no wonder these politicians think people must be compelled by the government to give to social programs through taxes. They know they would not give voluntarily. From National Revue:
It has become a common practice, when a presidential candidate releases his or her tax returns, for reporters and pundits to examine how much the candidate gave to charity. In September 1992, for example, when the Washington Post reported that Al Gore, then the Democratic candidate for vice president, had released his tax returns, the second paragraph in the story noted that out of income of $183,558, Gore “donated $1,727 — less than 1 percent — to charity.
But thankfully, plenty of Americans do give voluntarily, and they give a lot!
When the government taxes me more, it reduces my ability to give to the good works I think are worthy. Taxes also compel me to support programs I don't agree with or think are immoral, such as Planned Parenthood or ACORN. My "donation" in the form of taxes gets less bang for my buck because it must first travel through the maze of wasteful government bureaucracy.
If politicians like Biden, Obama, and Gore would give more to charity, maybe they would be less eager to increase taxes to pay for government social programs. Maybe then they would be more understanding of how higher taxes impacts voluntary giving. Obviously they have not tried it.
*When my husband was laid off in 1982, we were concerned that we would not be able to meet our charitable donation commitments. Thankfully, we got through it.
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