We have now been told by Senators Biden and Obama that people, particularly those making six figures, will be "patriotic" if they "jump in" and "spread [their] wealth around" Senator Biden told us that Christianity requires us to "help those who need help the most." To this, we may as Christians say Amen and Amen. However, it does not appear that Mr. Biden and Mr. Obama are practicing what they preach. Before these two TELL us what to do with our money, it is worth looking at what THEY actually HAVE DONE with their own. Charitable giving for Senators Obama and Biden is nothing short of pathetic. Before getting in to the numbers, I should say that charitable giving nationwide (2-3%) is not good either and though it's higher for committed Christians (same is true of Canada: study) we (and I mean WE) too are not giving out of our abundance what our fellow Christians overseas are out-giving us out of their scarcity: see link1 and link2. That said...
First, Senator Biden's charitable giving since 1998 can be found here. As you can see, in 1998 he gave an astounding $195 out of $215k. Fluke? Well, he has earned $2.5 million over that time and gave $3,600 or far less than 1% of his income. Mr. Biden, it's time for YOU to "jump in" and get "patriotic" or so it would seem. Mr. Obama has been more charitable, but not much more. He has earned $3.9 million since 2000 and gave $146k -- that's 3.7% (thanks mostly to a really charitable year in 2006 when he gave 6.1%). Most years he gave less than 2% during that time. At least they are in familiar company with previous Democratic candidates like Al Gore and John Kerry.
Hat's off to the Clinton's for out-giving each of these. Their charitable giving reached 9% from 2000-2007, giving in the millions out of their tens of millions. But none of these compete with the tremendous charitable giving of either Bush or McCain. All gave in excess, and for the McCains, well in excess, of the 10% mark (McCain typically gives in excess of 20%). Sarah Palin did release her tax returns over the past couple years and her charity amounts to about 3% ($4k out of $146k). Not great (only 2.5 times as much as the typical giving of Obama, but 19 times as much as Biden). Compared to Biden she's a saint, given their respective incomes and family obligations over this period.
These figures are consistent with the evidence provided by Arthur Brooks in his book Who Really Cares, which is the most comprehensive study of Americans' charitable giving done to date. Highly committed Christians and political conservatives are more charitable with their own money then seculars and political liberals, even if the latter are more 'charitable' with other people's money than their own (read: taxation and income redistribution).
Perhaps even more interesting than these numbers is why they are so under reported in the mainstream media.