Comments about ‘Do the wealthy give to charity?’

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Published: Monday, March 25 2013 9:55 a.m. MDT

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Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

There was such adulation for Mitt Romney because he gave 10.3 percent of his income to charity. Although I honor tithepayers for supporting their Church, the 10 percent tithing is not designated for helping the poor. This means Mittster donated only .3 percent of his income to helping those less fortunate. That's a pretty poor showing for such a wealthy guy.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT


Curiuos where you get your info? I did a quick Google search on Mitt romney donating to charity. It says Mitt and wife donated over 29% of their 2011 income.

Even if you deduct their Mormon tithing, my math comes out as 19% of "real" donations.

barack donated 21%

It also says your boy Biden donated $3,690 over a team year period, COMBINED.

$369 a year from the Bidens, who averaged incomes of several hundred thousand.

Mitt over $4 million in donations in 2011 alone.

Biden $369 a year. You must be so proud to call him a fellow democrat

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

Also according to a 2008 New York Times article, republicans were found to give at least 30% more than liberals, with some studies showing repulicans giving twice to charity what liberals do.

AS quoted from that article

"The upshot is that Democrats, who speak passionately about the hungry and homeless, personally fork over less money to charity than Republicans — the ones who try to cut health insurance for children"

No surprises here.

Liberals are SO generous,

ONLY with other people's money.

American Fork, UT


How can one be either a republican, or a 'liberal'? I'm a conservative. Democrat.

Park City, UT

Ok, so percentage wise this may be true. But, 1.3 percent of a million, is still better than 3.whatever of $30,000 right? It's kind of like taxes. The rich are asked to give more by percentage, but I'll bet 1 guy who makes over a million a year, pays more than my whole neighborhood. Sure, most pay some tax, but I have neighbors getting insane refunds right now who end up paying next to nothing.


Everett, 00

“In 2011, the wealthiest Americans — those with earnings in the top 20 percent — contributed on average 1.3 percent of their income to charity. By comparison, Americans at the base of the income pyramid — those in the bottom 20 percent — donated 3.2 percent of their income.”


‘Do the wealthy give to charity?’
To answer that question - Yes, they use it as a tax deduction.

And yet, some STILL insist the uber-wealthy don't need a tax hike and aren't greedy.
Yet, the facts here betry this false lie they seem to have bought into.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

The article was Rich vs. Poor
Liberal Rich vs. Conservative Rich
Please stay on topic.


"Do conservatives give more away? According to a new study by two MIT political scientists, not really. Using a dataset which uses more traditional questions to test political beliefs – the General Social Survey – they found no statistically significant relationship between peoples’ political beliefs, or their partisan affiliation, and their charitable giving level. And this held at the state level too. There was no significant relationship between a state’s level of giving and the vote share that Bush received in that state in 2004.

However, they did find that there was a strong relationship between political beliefs and what kind of giving people engaged in. Conservative individuals and individuals in red states were more likely to donate to religious organizations. Conversely, blue states were likely to give to secular organizations, as well as to 2005 tsunami relief."
(Washington Post)

"States previously reported to lag behind the nation in charitable giving actually have higher generosity levels than those indicated by a widely-touted annual index, according to a new study conducted by researchers (Paul Schervish)at the Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy."
Other studies didn't consider cost of living and tax burden.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

conservative democrat is an oxymoron.

you are right, it is a rich vs poor study. But pointing out that liberals give much LESS than conservatives (even the liberal rag NYT confirms it) is not off-topic.

and while there are some wealthy folk, like Bill Gates, Warrent Buffet, and John Hunstman Sr who give away alot, if not all, there are other wealthy folk like Joe Biden who give a pittance.

and as joseywales pointed out, 1.3% of a million is a LOT more than 3% of $30k.

Huntsville, UT

@Chris B;

Perhaps that is due to the way "charity" is defined?

Most of what I give goes directly to those in need and not through any organization. There are a few orgs that I do respect and contribute to.

That said, since I don't deduct it on my taxes, it doesn't show up under the "charitable contributions" category in various statistical reporting or polls.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

"Charity" is not an amount; it is an attitude. Those who are "charitable", see the needs of others and do all that they can to alleviate those needs. Those who have greater assets and a charitable heart are able to do more than those who have fewer assets or a "hard heart". Those who have to be "commanded" to help others, no matter how great their assets, are not "charitable". They may be forced to alleviate suffering, but they would rather keep their possessions while suffering continues.

It doesn't matter what others do. What matters is what we choose to do. Each of us has the power to do some good - if we choose to do good.

Bountiful, UT

My experience with the poor is that it's no surprise they're more generous, because they are much closer to needing charity themselves, the struggles of others resonate more easily with them.

The more isolated you are from the needy, the easier it is to have a "They need to pull themselves up by the bootstraps! That's what I did!" attitude.

Many of the problems that require charity are caused or exacerbated by economic inequality, regardless of the process. You can make the case that today's poor are *materially* much better off than the pioneers of 150 years ago.

The poor struggle with battered self esteems, as much as anything else, primarily because on the grand economic scoreboard they are pretty much the value of dirt. Nothing could be more humiliating than working 40+ hours a week and still qualifying for food stamps, or being unable to provide for your kids so they have a fighting chance in the economic contests they'll face.

The poor need jobs that pay well enough that they pay taxes, too, and have pride, hope, and less despair.

We need to narrow the vast inequalities, which hurt us all.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT


That is a fair point, but unless you can show that one groups gives significantly more to these "unreported" charities, wouldnt we assume that both groups(republicans AND conservatives) or for my example(Romeny AND Biden) gave to these "unreported" charities?

Again, you make a good point when comparing data, but reason would suggest that if your point skews the data, it skews the data the same for all parties. So any change in one groups would see a similar change in another groups, which would arrive at the same conclusion.

John C. C.
Payson, UT

It's really difficult to measure charitable giving because so much of it goes unreported.
If one donates $100 to the Friends of Scouting fund drive, all $100 counts as a deduction. The scoutmaster who dedicates many hours each week provides a priceless service but has little to report as deductible. Likewise, if we hid a battered wife and daughter in our home for a while, we would have nothing to report, but a cash donation to a women's shelter is easily deductible.

I suspect the poor are even more generous than what these studies can count. The most effective giving is "in kind" and is difficult to account for. The poor are less likely to have an accountant who knows how to qualify a donation as charitable, and are less likely to care. Their focus is on the needy, not the write-off.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The probable fact is that wealthy people, who got that way by carefully scrutinizing where their money goes, are not taken in by the scams that most of our charity organizations have become. If the tax deduction for the official charities was stopped, most of the charitable giving by everyone would stop.

There are many charities where the only charity is in the name, if you think of charity as the giving without reward. For instance, a theatre may call itself a charity and a non-profit organization and receive money from donors who get a tax deduction and their name on the theatre. Patrons of the theatre who buy tickets for the events are not allowed to deduct the costs of the tickets because they received something in return for their money.

It should be obvious to people that the unscrupulous buy the special laws that make it possible to steal from the public.

Rock Springs, WY

what is a conservavite democrate.

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

There have been some interesting studies and books written lately on charitable giving. I will not go into detail here, but I will not donate a dime to any organization that does not publish its results for all to see. It's time for the secrecy to end.

salt lake city, utah

I actually agree with Mike Richards on this one..and to that point I absolutely fail to see the relevance of political party affiliation in the discussion. It's what's in your heart.

Salt Lake City, UT

It appears to me that a big question is what to give and to whom? There are lots of hands wanting money. Some organizations need money, it translates into salaries of "boots on the ground" in charitable acts, others need money for necessities of life (I am speaking of third world necessities). Some organizations need time, of which we all have an equal amount. What to do and how to do it. Maybe we begin by doing something that forces us to look outward and not inward. Experience will help us decide future acts. Maybe a goal is to avoid the situation where our money perishes with us.

Lew Scannon
Provo, UT

Utahns generally rank quite high in charitable contributions, but that is a bit misleading. I give 10 percent of my income to my church, but I do not consider that a charitable contribution. That is a donation to what I call institutional maintenance. I donate to other charitable causes, but the 10 percent institution maintenance fee limits what I can donate to real charitable causes.

The numbers I see, though, for the wealthiest among us, are discouraging, particularly because these individuals are reaping most of the benefits from our slanted economic system. They accumulate the most, share the least, and buy politicians to create loopholes so that they can avoid taxes. What a system! Too bad it's not sustainable over the long haul.

Burke, VA

Because I am usually on opposing teams with Mike Richards may I gladly agree with every word he said in his 12:29 pm comment from yesterday. And I am dismayed by how quickly this turned into a partisan argument, as if either party didn't have rich and poor folks among their members.

I am also reminded of the story of the widow's mite. "And he looked up, and saw the rich‍ men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, 'Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all. For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.'"

It seems that the amount we give is not the point, but, as Mike Richards suggested, it is the spirit in which we give it. Studies and polls seldom are able to gauge what is in another person's heart.

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