Friday, April 4, 2008
Peter Heck
One Percent

Thanks to Ryan and Kurt and Kristen for the invitation to blog here. I apologize that this is the first chance I’ve had to do so. I am simply amazed by a revelation that came out today and wanted to get everyone’s take on it.

According to recently released tax records, evidence now shows that Barack Obama contributed merely 1% of his personal income to charity...this from the man who campaigns on the platform social justice and compassion for the underprivileged! In other words, Barack has no problem being charitable with your money, just not his.

This problem, of course, is one that liberals have always failed to grasp: it isn’t charity if it’s someone else’s money. Whether it’s Al Gore flying around the planet and spending $30,000 on his utility bill to tell us all how we need to cut back our lavish lifestyles…or Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins holding a fundraiser to collect our money for some great liberal cause…or liberal politicians like Obama who believe that charity is the responsibility of the government…the left never tires of taking our money for the projects and policies they are unwilling to finance themselves.

To be honest, I tire of being told that I am not a compassionate person because I understand the simple truth that the government’s responsibility is to be an instrument of justice, not compassion. The left’s obsession with the Robin Hood complex has gone beyond irrational to the point of dangerous. Even with the best of intentions we cannot forget the simple reality that Robin Hood was a thief.

Conservatives need to be vocal proponents of charitable giving and to demonstrate that individual charity is much more lucrative, much more efficient, and much more effective than when it’s in the hands of a bloated bureaucracy. Merely look at the Bureau of Indian Affairs for a perfect example of this sad reality: given billions of dollars to help the Native Americans, government has wasted that money by creating the poorest, most destitute, most dependent, and most impoverished among us. If that is Barack Obama’s view of compassion, we shouldn’t want anything to do with it. Nor should we put up with being lectured to by a man who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars and can’t find enough compassion to donate even 1% of that to charity. If it weren’t so disgraceful it would be humorous.

Comments: (7)



It's always good to remind people that actions always mean more than talk.

Interestingly, the Obamas dramatically increased their giving as his presidential run began. From 1998-2004, they gave about 1%. In 2005-2006, it was about 5%. In any case, your point still stands.

My favorite example of this again involves Al Gore. Al and Tipper gave $353 to charity in 1997-- with an AGI of nearly $200K.

Here's a link to a story on that:

My favorite quote from his spokesman:
"Contributing financially to charitable organizations is certainly noble and should be encouraged and is something that the Gores have done when the resources were there..."

How much do you contribute, Peter? Do you purposely think that out and make it part of your budget?

Hoosier 1st,

How much Peter Heck donates is not relative. What is important is the hypocrisy of O'Bama advocating that which he does not practice.

Hoosier 1st,

Actually Jenny and I do budget out 10% of our income right off the top for our tithe to church. On top of that charitable giving, there are 2 (Compassion International and the Rescue Mission) that I know we are regular contributors to. I would have to do some math to figure out what percentage of our income goes to those two and any other random charities that we might give to throughout the year, but that really isn't the issue here.

The point is that Obama speaks of "social justice" and "compassion" for those less fortunate and yet "couldn't afford" (the Obamas' words, not mine) to give any more than they did. In other words, he's happy to be generous with your money, just not his. Add to that, the fact that the evil, cold hearted Dick Cheney gave 78% (that's not a typo...SEVENTY EIGHT) of his income to charity and you start to get the point: liberals aren't the shining beacons of compassion they claim to be, and conservatives aren't the selfish cruel folks liberals claim them to be.

Check out Arthur Brooks book, Who Really Cares? America's Charity Divide: Who Gives, Who Doesn't, and Why It Matters.

Awhile back, I blogged on a book review of it in Books & Culture:

Brooks finds that social conservatives give more money and time than "liberals"-- and not just to churches.

I'm glad to see Peter's behavior conforms to that norm-- and that he believes that it is more blessed to give than to receive. But to Kenn's point, that's not the point: it's about hypocrisy and equivalent to a social conservative using prostitutes or Al Gore's carbon footprint.

You can hardly compare Cheney's 2005 tax return to Obama's returns considering the circumstances of the income and the agreement he made in 2001 to offset the conflict of interest of his income from corporate holdings. Prior to becoming VP, Cheney only gave 1% of his income to charity and made more money. Last year, they were roughly the same, Cheney only donated 5.5% while Obama donated 5.7%. You don't want to be lectured by a man giving only 1% to charity, but you voted for one that did so prior to office.