Samuel Johnson once reported on a man who was privately stingy but publicly touted the merits of sharing. Dr. Johnson said sarcastically that the man was a “friend of goodness.” What he meant was that flesh-and-blood goodness is very different from supporting “Goodness” in the abstract.
Many modern liberals like to openly discuss their altruism. Garrison Keillor explains that “I am liberal and liberalism is the politics of kindness.” But it rarely seems to turn into acts of kindness, especially when it comes to making charitable donations.
Consider the case of Andrew Cuomo, current New York Attorney General and advocate for the homeless. He has, according to his website, “compassion toward the most vulnerable of us.” And this is how the New York Times described the courtship of Kerry Kennedy (of guess which family): “Ms. Kennedy-Cuomo, 43, said she fell in love with Mr. Cuomo, 45, when he took her on a tour of a homeless shelter on their first date and agreed to fast for the labor leader Cesar Chavez.”
But that advocacy should not be confused with actually giving to the less fortunate. Cuomo was a homeless advocate throughout the 1990s, but according to his own tax returns he made no charitable contributions between 1996 and 1999. In 2000 he donated a whopping $2,750. In 2004 and 2005, Cuomo had more than $1.5 million in adjusted gross income but gave a paltry $2,000 to charity.
Cuomo made no charitable contributions in 2003, when his income was a bit less than $300,000.
Cuomo IS NOT alone in this Scroogery of course. Barack Obama has a rather poor track record when it comes to charitable contributions. He consistently gave 1 percent of his income to charity. In his most charitable year, 2005, he earned $1.7 million (two and a half times what George W. Bush earned) but gave about the same dollar amount as the President.
The last two Democratic Party nominees for President have come up short on the charity scale. Al Gore has been famously stingy when it comes to actually giving his own money to charities. In 1998 he was embarrassed when his tax returns revealed that he gave just $353 to charity. …
According to his tax returns, Reagan donated more than four times more to charity — both in terms of actual money and on a percentage basis — than Senator Ted Kennedy. And he gave more to charities with less income than FDR did. In 1985, for example, he gave away 6 percent of his income.
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have continued this Reagan record. During the early 1990s, George W. Bush regularly gave away more than 10 percent of his income. In 2005, Vice President Dick Cheney gave away 77 percent of his income to charity. He was actually criticized by some liberal bloggers for this, who claimed he was getting too much of a tax deduction.
The main point of liberal compassion appears to be making liberals feel good about their superior virtue. Such are the rewards of being a “friend of goodness.”
08 Jun 2008