Cheap

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on April 15, 2009

Vice President Biden is on record as having opined that it is patriotic to pay taxes. One wonders whether he also thinks that it is patriotic to give money to charity.

Early indications are that the Vice President doesn’t think that charitable giving ranks all that high on the list of patriotic acts. Consider the following excerpt from this story:

The White House on Wednesday also released the tax return for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill. They reported an adjusted gross income of $269,256 and paid $46,952 in federal income taxes.

The Bidens also reported donating $1,885 to charity, less than 1 percent of their earnings. In a press release, the White House said the Bidens have made additional donations to charity not listed on the returns.

“The charitable donations claimed by the Bidens on their tax returns are not the sum of their annual contributions to charity,” it said. “They donate to their church, and they contribute to their favorite causes with their time as well as their checkbooks.”

The Bidens’ charitable giving comes out to 0.7% of their income. The Vice President can claim all he wants that he donates money that does not appear on his tax returns–that seems to be the claim here–but if he is not smart enough to take further deductions where they can be found, then one wonders whether he’s really the person to be sitting a heartbeat away from the Presidency. As for donating “time,” well, the time the Vice President supposedly donated to his favorite charities isn’t exactly accounted for in the White House press release. And who actually thinks that the Vice President had all that much time to donate in the first place? Last year, he was running for President, and then for Vice President and now, presumably, he is busy being less powerful than Dick Cheney. If that frees him up to donate time to the charity of choice, then again, the first thought that runs through one’s mind is “shouldn’t we have a Vice President who is on the job full time?”.

As for the Vice President’s immediate predecessor, take a look at this. I imagine that the former Vice President has not exactly slackened in the generosity department since having issued his 2005 tax returns. Would that the current one follow his predecessor’s example a bit more. Perhaps a talking-to is needed from Vice President Biden’s boss; President Obama gave 6.5% of his income to charity. It ain’t tithing, but it ain’t bad, and it’s a sight better than what his second banana managed.

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