Taylored Life

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rational Sentiment Update

Due to our general busyness, I haven't posted much lately over at Rational Sentiment, but with things slowing down a bit, I'm hoping to post more frequently again. I added a post today on healthcare and I'm hoping to discuss the topic in more detail coming up. I've also added a permanent link to the site on the links page (you can click "links" above) so that those of you who frequent this site can find my other one when you feel like it.

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Rational Sentiment

I've been wanting to talk more about politics, finance, and current events but I haven't really felt like this was the place to do it. This blog is intended to be the story of our lives and the couple of posts I have made related to politics have felt awkward in this context. As such, I have decided to launch a new blog called Rational Sentiment where I can freely express my opinions on the latest events while hopefully maintaining some level of rationality. I don't know if anyone will end up reading the blog, but it should be fun nonetheless. If you are interested, head on over and you can subscribe to the RSS feed, as well. I hope to post there relatively frequently and maybe spur some civilized conversation.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Candidate Charitable Giving

Way back in May, I posted about the presidential candidates' charitable giving (or lack there of). Well, now the vice presidential candidates have released their returns as well, so I figured it was worth revisiting. In summary, I am appalled by the lack of charitable giving by the people who are vying for the opportunity to run our country.

Before talking about the vice presidential candidates, let me update a couple of things from the previous post. McCain has since released a snapshot of his wife's return for 2006. This, combined with a misread of his return on my part, makes his giving much less impressive. First, I said that he gave 28.6% to charity in 2006 but I didn't notice that part of this was carryover from the previous year. In actuality, he gave 19% which is still good until you consider that he claims half of the family's combined giving so when you factor in Cindy's $6 million dollar AGI, the combined giving is reduced to right at 2%. Their charitable giving nearly doubled for 2007 but we still don't know what Cindy made in 2007 so I can't give a percentage.

Now, on to the VP candidates...here are the numbers:

Bidens Palins
Year AGI ($K) Gifts (%) AGI ($K) Gifts (%)
2007 320 0.31 166 2.0
2006 248 0.15 128 3.8
2005 321 0.12 * *
2004 234 0.16 * *
2003 231 0.11 * *
2002 228 0.11 * *
2001 221 0.16 * *
2000 220 0.16 * *
1999 211 0.06 * *
1998 214 0.09 * *

* Not released

No, those are not typos, Joe Biden and his wife have averaged $369 in charitable giving over the past decade, or 0.15% percent of there AGI. WOW! This is despicable. As, I mentioned in my previous post, the average American gives ~2.2% of their AGI. I find it particularly disgraceful that candidates running on a platform of increased taxes for the rich to support programs for the less fortunate give at these low levels. If you want to support programs for the less fortunate, do it by giving to charity. While the Palins giving is certainly not staggering, given their relatively low AGI compared to the other candidates, these numbers are not bad.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Presidential Candidate Charitable Giving

The democratic party is generally considered the party of social responsibility. By this, I mean that democrats support welfare, social security, etc. Given this and all the press about candidates releasing their tax returns, I wondered what kind of charitable giving the candidates had. This makes sense, right? You would expect the socially responsible ones to have high giving percentages. The table below tells the tale...

Clintons Obamas John McCain**
Year AGI ($K) Gifts (%) AGI ($K) Gifts (%) AGI ($K) Gifts (%)
2007* 20 400 14.7 4 140 5.8 387 27.3
2006 15 858 10.0 984 6.1 339 28.6
2005 18 056 9.7 1 655 4.7 *** ***
2004 19 996 12.7 208 1.2 *** ***
2003 7 935 5.2 238 1.4 *** ***
2002 9 467 1.2 259 0.4 *** ***
2001 15 950 5.1 273 0.5 *** ***
2000 357 9.8 241 1.0 *** ***

* Estimated
** Married filing separately
*** Not released

I must commend the Clintons; they have a clear track record of charitable giving. I'm happy to write off 2002 as a fluke and besides, if you go even further back you will see some years at a whopping 50%! The Obamas, on the other hand, are less than impressive. The national average for giving is ~2.2% which is higher than the Obamas until the last few years. A campaign spokesperson, Bill Burton, said that they gave all that they could afford. What can you expect with a measly $250,000 income? I'm surprised they could eat! McCain only released his taxes (not his wife's) and only for the last 2 years. While the numbers are impressive, it is hard to really make anything from this little bit of data (especially since his wife is loaded).

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Blogger jigawatt said...

A more interesting statistic might be the candidates charitable giving as a percentage of their AGI.

Also, if they have a controling interest in any of the charitable organizations to which they have donated, that would probably not count. Well, maybe we could say, 50c on the dollar.

June 9, 2008 8:34 PM  

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