Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Are You Giving Too Much to Charity?

Three things that I try never to do in this blog are: 1) comment on politics and 2) discourage charitable giving and, 3) get religious. But I came across this CNN post awhile back regarding the tax returns of President Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden and it just keeps lurking in my mind.

In 2008:

The Obamas donated $172,050, to 37 different charities.

Vice President and Mrs. Biden donated $1,885 to charity.

Great! Fantastic! Applaudable, but I grew up Catholic and learned that the Bible says that you must give a 10% tithe of all your income and wealth. So how did these two families do?

The Obama's adjusted gross income for 2008 was $2.6 million. Their charitable contributions amount to approximately 6.6%.

The Biden family reported $269,256. Their charitable contributions amount to approximately .7%

I only use the Presidential team because it's easy to access their tax return information. An article on the Consumerist claims that the more a person makes the less they give--proportionally.

Phil Villarreal, posted the article back on May 25th. In it he states that sifted through the Dept. of Labor files and found:

"the poorest Americans — those who make an average of $10,531 — gave the largest percentage of their income (4.3 percent) to charity. Meanwhile, the wealthiest group — which make an average of $158,888 — give only 2.1 percent of what they make."

So especially during these tough economic times when individuals are struggling and charities are feeling it as well, should you still go with what the Bible says, even if your not religious?

Remember the Bible was written a long time ago and is subject to a wide range of interpretation. The 10% tithe? Who knows maybe it shouldn't be interpreted as narrowly as giving money--time, good intentions, an egg-laying chicken might have been part of supporting your church. And do you need to follow a rule? Give what you feel comfortable with to organizations you are compassionate about.

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