In a rare moment of candor in 2008, candidate Barack Obama famously let slip his fundamental belief—a tenet of socialism—that “when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” In a sense, spreading the wealth around is something that Mitt Romney has experience doing.
Romney’s wealth sharing is not the government-mandated-shakedown variety that Obama promulgates on the campaign trail. Rather, the former Massachusetts governor has freely and generously given to charity. Keith Koffler at White House Dossier writes:
[D]uring a comparable period before Obama and Romney were running for president, Romney’s giving probably was at least ten times Obama’s as a percentage of their incomes, and possibly much more.
Romney has stated that he has long given at least 10 percent of his earnings to his Mormon church. Assuming this is true—and he’d probably have to be classified as a pathological liar if it’s not—the Romneys’ giving has dwarfed that of the Obamas, whose charitable contributions only increased in direct proportion to President Obama’s political activity.
Although Obama deserves some credit for his charitable contributions in recent years—in 2011, he gave 21.8% of his $789,678 adjusted gross income to charity, which actually surpasses Romney’s 19.6%—he has not always “walked the walk,” and the Joe Bidens never did. Biden’s most recent return reveals that gave a paltry 1.5% of his income to charity.
But that percentage is a veritable king’s ransom compared with Obama’s charitable giving as reflected in his earliest available tax returns. In 2000, the Obamas jointly earned $240,505, of which they gave $2,350—or less than 1%—to charity. In 2001, the couple earned even more, reporting an adjusted gross of $272,759, but donated less: They gave away a total $1,470, equivalent to about one half of a percent.
Granted, there is a good deal of speculation in Koffler’s post, signaled by words like probably and phrases like assuming this is true. It is also clear that Romney could put the questions about his largesse to rest once and for all by releasing more tax returns. But Romney is not the candidate preaching economic equality or demanding that the government be empowered to take a pound of flesh (aka fair share) out of the hides of everyone earning over a quarter million dollars. Obama is. And it would be nice to hear him explain his miserly tendencies during years when he was making a very comfortable living.
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