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Giving and compassion?

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by Dr.Who, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. Dr.Who

    Dr.Who Well-Known Member

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    Giving, service and compassion are recurrent themes on the campaign trail for Sen. Barack Obama, but the Democratic presidential contender has only recently dug deep into his own pockets to support charitable causes.

    In 2002, the year before Obama launched his campaign for U.S. Senate, the Obamas reported income of $259,394, ranking them in the top 2 percent of U.S. households, according to Census Bureau statistics. That year the Obamas claimed $1,050 in deductions for gifts to charity, or 0.4 percent of their income. The average U.S. household totaled $1,872 in gifts to charity in 2002, according to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

    So basically you and I give more to charity on our meager incomes than Obama did with his large income.

    The national average for charitable giving has long hovered at 2.2 percent of household income, according to the Glenview-based Giving USA Foundation, which tracks trends in philanthropy. Obama tax returns dating to 1997 show he fell well below that benchmark until 2005, the year he arrived in Washington.

    Senator Obama is not the only one whos public statments are in contradiction to the way they lead life in private.

    Public attention to charitable gifts has led to uncomfortable moments for prominent political figures. Then-Vice President Al Gore came in for withering ridicule in 1998 when his tax return showed he had contributed just $353 to charity. So did then-President Bill Clinton, after a review of old tax returns revealed that he had once claimed a $75 deduction for donating a suit with ripped pants to the Salvation Army, as well as $2 for a pair of used underwear and $9 for six pairs of used socks.

    And the kicker of it all is that donations to political parties would be counted. I find it really hard to believe that people who feel strongly about a cause, whether it is the democratic party or feeding the hungry could give so little.

    It makes me think that maybe they don't really have any feelings about these issues.

    Oh wait, they do have a feeling; the feeling that they should make the rest of us "donate" to these causes through our tax dollars.

    Now, in all fairness to Obama he has started giving more since he began running for public office. Does it count as compassion is you give just to look good and win elections?

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-0704250022apr25,1,1209388.story
     
  2. Coyote

    Coyote Active Member

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    Weren't the Obama's paying off student loans?
     
  3. Dr.Who

    Dr.Who Well-Known Member

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    I almost forgot:

    If these causes that they are asking us to support are as important as they tell us they are then they should be giving too.

    Perhaps some of these causes are not important at all. Maybe the inflated claims about all sorts of problems we have in the US are nothing more than grandstanding.

    I think we can all agree that the save the one legged cats foundation can suffer without donations and it won't be a problem.

    But have you noticed that we no longer talk about starving people in this country. We now talk about "risk of hunger" and people being "food insecure."

    By all means we should continue to give to our local food banks. The good people who work there meet the people who come in asking for food and they can develop a relationship with those people and help out in ways that the nameless beuracrats never could. These people may not be starving but they are having financial hardships and the gift of food could help to unburden an unworkable budget for a single mom or a recently unemployed family until they get back on their feet.

    Maybe you disagree with my opinion in that last paragraph. But I am not trying to collect your "donations" directly from your employer.
     
  4. Coyote

    Coyote Active Member

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    I thought the Clintons give something like 30% of their income to charity.

    Contrast that to Reagan's measly 1.4%.
     
  5. Libsmasher

    Libsmasher New Member

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    Proof?
     
  6. Coyote

    Coyote Active Member

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  7. Coyote

    Coyote Active Member

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  8. Pidgey

    Pidgey Well-Known Member

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    I guess I just can't imagine it being very easy to reliably track information like that on anyone and, therefore, wouldn't add it to my shopping list of things to find out. I would think that if that was considered an important criteria, anyone wanting to become president would just start using that as another way to buy their way into the Whitehouse.

    Pidgey
     
  9. Andy

    Andy Well-Known Member

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    I have to admit, I'm not too keen on charitable giving as a indicator of... well I'm not even sure what it's supposed to indicate. But I also find it laughable to bring up Reagan. Reagan was a great president who stopped terrorism of his day, defeated the Soviets, and started the longest uninterrupted era of peace time economic growth. No one ever says the great thing about Reagan was his charitable giving. So what's the point? Well there isn't one in my mind.

    Granted I do see why some bring this up. It's because Repugs bring up how much Democraps donate to charity. So the response is that Dems go back 26 years, dig up a dead president they hate, and point out something that could be skewed for all we know, and say see, he didn't donate to charity either.

    But this misses the point that is being made. And it's a valid point, which is why they deflect it. Namely, that it's Democraps that preach to us about how we should give money to the poor. Democraps say we have to fund welfare, food stamps, section 8, public housing, medicaid and all the other millions of 'government charities'.

    But here's the problem: Democraps never fund these things themselves... they make us fund them. So... Repugs point out that they don't donate to charity themselves, yet they force us to fund them. This is why pointing out how much Reagan gave to charity is irrelevant to me. Reagan never went to Washington telling how we ought to pay more, that we should be giving our money to non-working people, that would should fund all these little programs of his. It's democraps that do this.

    Even the link provided shows exactly how democraps work. Note that $12K the Clintons gave away came as gifts to begin with. It wasn't even earned income. Well there you go! You donate to charity 'gifts' that were given to you! So you can get a tax deduction to keep more of your own money... how charitable of them. Of course they refused to release any information about who they donated too, so we also don't know if they got anything back for their 'donation' like Al Gore.

    See Al Gore donated $52,558 to charity, which seem like a lot until you find out Al gave $50K to the UoT in exchange for setting up a chair of environmental studies in honor of his late sister. That's charity? Sounds more like a purchase of a memorial. Charity is helping the poor, ill, helpless. Those poor, ill, helpless University of Tennessee administrators greatly appreciate the purchase.. er "charity" of Mr. Gore.

    Which is my whole point. Democraps preach at us about how we should give give give, yet they themselves never do unless they get something for it. Btw, this isn't exclusive either. I've seen some Repugs do the same, but not nearly as much.
     
  10. Coyote

    Coyote Active Member

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    Yes, it is charity. If he wanted a memorial he would have built a mausoleum. So what if it's in the name of his sister - who's name should he use?

    Faculty are expensive to hire and to fund for starting research. Something like a this will allow the university to add a faculty position which in turn benefits the students.
     
  11. Bunz

    Bunz New Member

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    Boy people seem to be afraid of the inevitable...
    44th President of the United States, Barak Obama.
    Does this even matter? I give more to charity than person X...read that to mean I deducted more from my taxes and just enough to get into the next lower bracket than the next person. Totally irrelevant in reality for both sides.
     
  12. SW85

    SW85 New Member

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    Only Obama's trailing everwhere he needs to win in the general, so maybe not so much.
     
  13. Andy

    Andy Well-Known Member

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    If there is a demand for environmental studies, and students are willing to pay for teaching on this, then that will pay for the faculty and positions necessary. I don't meet many students saying tuition is too low for the University to hire people. UoT makes $55,000 to $74,000 per student for a basic undergrad degree. For every Veterinary Medicine student, they get $105K. You are trying to tell me that UoT can't sink $50K of their own money to open up environmental studies? I think they can.

    No, this was very simply, Al Gore purchasing a memorial for his late sister, while at the same time getting a tax break, while making people think he's charitable. But when you look up charity in the dictionary, it very clearly states that it is an act of helping the ill, poor, or helpless.

    Ill, poor, and helpless, clearly does not include the administrators of a University collecting $161.3Million (in instruction fees alone), plus $120Million in government grants (aka money stolen by feds, and dished out to friends of congressmen), for a total of $280.3 Million yearly. And that doesn't count the overpriced food, the books and student store supplies that are hiked up 50%, nor the room and board.

    I love to converse with you, but I'm afraid I'll have to respectfully disagree with you here.
     
  14. BigRob

    BigRob Well-Known Member

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    Problem is Obama and Clintons want to make these "donations" mandatory.... Reagan did not.
     
  15. Cdajen

    Cdajen New Member

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    Some of the most giving and charitable people in the world are those with very little income. Looking at donations of time and energy is a far better way to determine who is "giving and compassionate" than analysis of tax returns. If you look at Barack Obama's life, or the lives of the other two candidates for that matter, it's clear that that they are charitable people.
     
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