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Everyman
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama : Charity

[ Edited ]

I just see [donative practices] as totally irrrelevant to their policies. 

 

That's fine. Others may see it differently.

 

They may see those who claim concern for others but give little of any of their wealth to such ends as "do as I say, not as I do" people. 

 

Some people may believe that "actions speak louder than words," and that one who claims to believe in charity but doesn't engage in it personally, even though they have the means to be personally generous, as "all hat and no cattle."  

 

One standard of true leaders is that they lead by example more than by edict.  If the example Obama and Biden set is not to be personally generous with their wealth, why should the people they lead be any more committed to being personally generous with their wealth?   If the nation's leaders show by personal example that charity isn't something they expect those who can afford charity to practice, why should Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, or for that matter me, think that personal charity is of any value?

 

But much of our society depends, and has always depended, on the personal generosity of Americans.  If our leaders teach by example that they do not believe that personal generosity is important, a bedrock aspect of our country (which in this respect is quite different from European countries, which depend much less on personal charity than American institutions do) will be in danger.  

 

These are, at least in some people's minds, legitimate reasons to consider that the lack of donative activity on the part of the President-elect and Vice-President-Elect may be significant clues to their true beliefs.  

 


Choisya wrote:

I disagree with you on this point. Noting the fact that Obama and Biden gave very little to charity is not partisan. It is a statement of fact about the candidates that want to redistribute wealth without giving much of their own. If McCain had advocated the same position, I would have made the same judgement.

 

I just see it as totally irrrelevant to their policies.  It is like saying that if they do not carry guns they should not support the gun lobby or if their wives did not have abortions they should not support abortion.  They are after all supporting a policy which will redistribute their wealth.  And as I have said, there are also a lot of problems around charitable giving when you reach the top of the political ladder. I think you will find that when they are both in office a list will be drawn up of the charities they feel able to support which won't alienate the public and that list will be changed frequently to be representative of national 'causes'. It is a minefield for them and particularly for Obama.  Imagine if he had, until now, always supported more black charities or a worthwhile Muslim charity - there would be a furore - 'terrorist', 'racist' would be the cry.  Supposing McCain had supported naval charities and not army ones - soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan would be furious.   But however much top people give it is never considered enough by the public.  The Queen has a lot of hassle over this.       

 

 

Do you believe that my government distributes the wealth fairly? Earmarks are a perfect example of how the government misuses its power when it comes to money. I think the prevailing opinion is that when the government runs programs they are often mismanaged, wasteful and even corrupt.

 

I cannot possibly judge your government in this, I just make the point that IMO democratic governments have to pay attention to all needs because they seek votes, and private companies and citizens can pick and choose amongst the needy and thereby neglect some.  In my lifetime I have not seen any evidence that western governments are any more corrupt or less accountable than private companies. And the amount of information we can get about our governments is far greater than the information we can get on private companies, so I see governments as being more accountable.  Because of my background, I perhaps trust them more than you do and believe that our representatives are trying to do their best, whatever their party.  

 

I agree that private charity should be enough but it never has been.  All three of the monotheistic religions have always tried to get all of their believers to give one-tenth of their earnings to charity but this has never taken place. If it had, no government would have to set up welfare schemes.  This is why some governments in our more enlightened times, try to bridge the gap. 

 

I give very little to British charities because we have national welfare schemes which benefit everyone.  I give more to overseas causes, particularly African, charities.  I have been supporting a young woman through school in Kenya for some years and I buy Fairtrade groceries and my birthday and Christmas presents from Oxfam whenever I can.  But I would far rather that Africans did not have to rely on charity from people like me and that their governments provided for them - hasten the day!   

 

 

 

 


thewanderingjew wrote:

edited by twj:...
Choisya wrote:
Let's look at the principles rather than take a purely partisan approach.
I disagree with you on this point. Noting the fact that Obama and Biden gave very little to charity is not partisan. It is a statement of fact about the candidates that want to redistribute wealth without giving much of their own. If McCain had advocated the same position, I would have made the same judgement.
Choisya wrote:
The British Victorians were great philanthropists and established many of the charities both our countries have today. However, research into poverty and deprivation found that charities did not distribute their income fairly and were very partisan in their approach to their clients.

Do you believe that my government distributes the wealth fairly? Earmarks are a perfect example of how the government misuses its power when it comes to money. I think the prevailing opinion is that when the government runs programs they are often mismanaged, wasteful and even corrupt. (That is not to say that private companies aren't susceptible to the same sins, but I can usually opt out of participation in a private company but not one run by the government.)
I, for one, give to Catholic Charites, Jewish Charities, Cultural Charities, the USO, The Boys Club, etc. I am an equal opportunity giver. You are right, alone I can't give enough to solve all the problems of the world but if we all tried to take care of our own as well as those in need, to the best of our ability, we could make great progress in solving the problems we face. Rather than solving the problems by going through the cold layers of bureaucratic red tape we could solve them with the warmth of human intervention.

Choisya wrote:...
(My definition of patriotism is much wider in that I believe that I should be willing to help all the people in my country as well as the country itself in time of need. I see charity as being part of that patriotism.)
I guess I separate the two...I think we both want the same end result, we just have a different approach.
twj

 


 


 

 

Message Edited by Everyman on 11-12-2008 12:13 PM
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Choisya
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama : Charity

[ Edited ]

Thanks.  I realise that there is a big difference between the US and Europe on this and that Americans are still more in the Victorian mould with regard to philanthropy and I take the point that your leaders are expected to set an example.  (I do not mean that as a criticism, just that the Victorians had similar views.) 

 

When speaking of the 'donative' records of Biden and Obama are people referring to the recent past or for all/most of their political lives?  As I have pointed out elsewhere, I have found (know) that giving to charities can be a minefield for top people and it may be that during the campaign they have chosen to suspend their donations or to reduce them to avoid the more controversial ones.  Do they have to officially record all their substantial donations to charities? 

 

There has been quite a lot of fuss over here about various Muslim charities, some of which have been found to be siphoning off money to jihadist groups whilst others are genuinely caring for those in need.  I know of two people who were donating to the former who did not know of their connections and immediately stopped giving once they did.  The same thing has happened with Northern Ireland charities and you probably know that some American groups were accused of contributing to IRA militants who were bombing the UK. 

 

All that being said, I still think that for politicians to put legislation in place which directs money to the poor and deprived as being more valuable than personal giving if only because it involves a great deal more money.  But in the American case I guess they have to be seen to give, just as their constituents are.   I expect a list of 'suitable' charities to which Obama and Biden subscribe to be published within the year - do let me iknow when it is!  

   

 

 

 


Everyman wrote:

I just see [donative practices] as totally irrrelevant to their policies. 

 

That's fine. Others may see it differently.

 

They may see those who claim concern for others but give little of any of their wealth to such ends as "do as I say, not as I do" people. 

 

Some people may believe that "actions speak louder than words," and that one who claims to believe in charity but doesn't engage in it personally, even though they have the means to be personally generous, as "all hat and no cattle."  

 

One standard of true leaders is that they lead by example more than by edict.  If the example Obama and Biden set is not to be personally generous with their wealth, why should the people they lead be any more committed to being personally generous with their wealth?   If the nation's leaders show by personal example that charity isn't something they expect those who can afford charity to practice, why should Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, or for that matter me, think that personal charity is of any value?

 

But much of our society depends, and has always depended, on the personal generosity of Americans.  If our leaders teach by example that they do not believe that personal generosity is important, a bedrock aspect of our country (which in this respect is quite different from European countries, which depend much less on personal charity than American institutions do) will be in danger.  

 

These are, at least in some people's minds, legitimate reasons to consider that the lack of donative activity on the part of the President-elect and Vice-President-Elect may be significant clues to their true beliefs.  

 


Choisya wrote:

I disagree with you on this point. Noting the fact that Obama and Biden gave very little to charity is not partisan. It is a statement of fact about the candidates that want to redistribute wealth without giving much of their own. If McCain had advocated the same position, I would have made the same judgement.

 

I just see it as totally irrrelevant to their policies.  It is like saying that if they do not carry guns they should not support the gun lobby or if their wives did not have abortions they should not support abortion.  They are after all supporting a policy which will redistribute their wealth.  And as I have said, there are also a lot of problems around charitable giving when you reach the top of the political ladder. I think you will find that when they are both in office a list will be drawn up of the charities they feel able to support which won't alienate the public and that list will be changed frequently to be representative of national 'causes'. It is a minefield for them and particularly for Obama.  Imagine if he had, until now, always supported more black charities or a worthwhile Muslim charity - there would be a furore - 'terrorist', 'racist' would be the cry.  Supposing McCain had supported naval charities and not army ones - soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan would be furious.   But however much top people give it is never considered enough by the public.  The Queen has a lot of hassle over this.       

 

 

Do you believe that my government distributes the wealth fairly? Earmarks are a perfect example of how the government misuses its power when it comes to money. I think the prevailing opinion is that when the government runs programs they are often mismanaged, wasteful and even corrupt.

 

I cannot possibly judge your government in this, I just make the point that IMO democratic governments have to pay attention to all needs because they seek votes, and private companies and citizens can pick and choose amongst the needy and thereby neglect some.  In my lifetime I have not seen any evidence that western governments are any more corrupt or less accountable than private companies. And the amount of information we can get about our governments is far greater than the information we can get on private companies, so I see governments as being more accountable.  Because of my background, I perhaps trust them more than you do and believe that our representatives are trying to do their best, whatever their party.  

 

I agree that private charity should be enough but it never has been.  All three of the monotheistic religions have always tried to get all of their believers to give one-tenth of their earnings to charity but this has never taken place. If it had, no government would have to set up welfare schemes.  This is why some governments in our more enlightened times, try to bridge the gap. 

 

I give very little to British charities because we have national welfare schemes which benefit everyone.  I give more to overseas causes, particularly African, charities.  I have been supporting a young woman through school in Kenya for some years and I buy Fairtrade groceries and my birthday and Christmas presents from Oxfam whenever I can.  But I would far rather that Africans did not have to rely on charity from people like me and that their governments provided for them - hasten the day!   

 

 

 

 


thewanderingjew wrote:

edited by twj:...
Choisya wrote:
Let's look at the principles rather than take a purely partisan approach.
I disagree with you on this point. Noting the fact that Obama and Biden gave very little to charity is not partisan. It is a statement of fact about the candidates that want to redistribute wealth without giving much of their own. If McCain had advocated the same position, I would have made the same judgement.
Choisya wrote:
The British Victorians were great philanthropists and established many of the charities both our countries have today. However, research into poverty and deprivation found that charities did not distribute their income fairly and were very partisan in their approach to their clients.

Do you believe that my government distributes the wealth fairly? Earmarks are a perfect example of how the government misuses its power when it comes to money. I think the prevailing opinion is that when the government runs programs they are often mismanaged, wasteful and even corrupt. (That is not to say that private companies aren't susceptible to the same sins, but I can usually opt out of participation in a private company but not one run by the government.)
I, for one, give to Catholic Charites, Jewish Charities, Cultural Charities, the USO, The Boys Club, etc. I am an equal opportunity giver. You are right, alone I can't give enough to solve all the problems of the world but if we all tried to take care of our own as well as those in need, to the best of our ability, we could make great progress in solving the problems we face. Rather than solving the problems by going through the cold layers of bureaucratic red tape we could solve them with the warmth of human intervention.

Choisya wrote:...
(My definition of patriotism is much wider in that I believe that I should be willing to help all the people in my country as well as the country itself in time of need. I see charity as being part of that patriotism.)
I guess I separate the two...I think we both want the same end result, we just have a different approach.
twj

 


 


 

 

Message Edited by Everyman on 11-12-2008 12:13 PM

 

Message Edited by Choisya on 11-12-2008 01:41 PM
Message Edited by Choisya on 11-12-2008 01:43 PM
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama : Charity

Do they have to officially record all their substantial donations to charities?

 

No.  They can keep them secret if they wish.  However, they can assume that some people will assume the worst from such secrecy.

 

Traditionally now Presidential candidates Presidents release their tax returns, though they are not required to do so.  If they itemize their deductions, and most do, their charitable contributions will all be listed there, down to the smallest.  (One amusing side comment on the Clintons was that they took a charitable deduction for donating used underpants to a charity, don't recall whether it was Goodwill or something other than that.  But there was some amusement that they would first donate used underwear, and second that they would actually value it and list the value as a tax deduction. 

 

They were not showing their Biden theory that paying taxes is patrotric!   :smileyhappy:

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Jon_B
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama : Charity

[ Edited ]

I guess the value of the deduction would depend on which of the Clintons used the underwear in question :smileywink:

 

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 11-12-2008 11:21 AM
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Choisya
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama : Charity

LOL.  I don't know about First Ladies but Princess Diana's underwear is worth a fortune!  Tax deductions would therefore be worth quite a lot.   Tax avoidance by such means seems commonplace everywhere:smileysad:

 


Jon_B wrote:

I guess the value of the deduction would depend on which of the Clintons used the underwear in question :smileywink:

 

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 11-12-2008 11:21 AM

 

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Everyman
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama : Charity

Well, the Clintons didn't see their underwear on the same level as Princess Di's. 

 

"Former president Bill Clinton once made public a tax return on which he deducted $2 apiece for donated underwear."

 

Source:USA Today

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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama : Charity


Everyman wrote:

Well, the Clintons didn't see their underwear on the same level as Princess Di's. 

 

"Former president Bill Clinton once made public a tax return on which he deducted $2 apiece for donated underwear."

 

Source:USA Today


I'm sorry, but am I the only one who finds used underware just YUCKY.

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Everyman
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama : Charity


TiggerBear wrote:

Everyman wrote:

Well, the Clintons didn't see their underwear on the same level as Princess Di's. 

 

"Former president Bill Clinton once made public a tax return on which he deducted $2 apiece for donated underwear."

 

Source:USA Today


I'm sorry, but am I the only one who finds used underware just YUCKY.


You are definitely NOT the only one.  We donate good used clothing to our local thrift stores (and no, we do NOT try to take a tax deduction for it, we just give), but I would never donate used underwear.  And I can't imagine any thrift store trying to resell that or even shipping overseas (where much of the donated used clothing goes) for sale or donation there.  Some things are just too too. 

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KathyS
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama : Charity

[ Edited ]

Jon_B wrote:

I guess the value of the deduction would depend on which of the Clintons used the underwear in question :smileywink:

Message Edited by Jon_B on 11-12-2008 11:21 AM


 

Jon!  Jon!  Jon!  Is it okay if I call you bad?  (not good)....and cringe and laugh at the same time?  You can't imagine the visuals that just ran through my head!  Maybe the Smithsonian would be the better place to hang that laundry....along with a certain dress?!
Message Edited by KathyS on 11-12-2008 04:50 PM
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Choisya
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama : Charity donations.

[ Edited ]

There are shops in the UK (probably in the US too) and on the internet which specialise in used undies.  I wouldn't say 'no' to a s/h pair of diamond studded kn****rs if someone sent them as a gift:smileyvery-happy:.   (Providing they had washed them first.:smileysurprised:)

 

 


TiggerBear wrote:

I'm sorry, but am I the only one who finds used underware just YUCKY.


 

Message Edited by Choisya on 11-14-2008 02:51 AM
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TiggerBear
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Re: Fareed Zakaria on the election of Barack Obama : Charity donations.


Choisya wrote:

There are shops in the UK (probably in the US too) and on the internet which specialise in used undies.  I wouldn't say 'no' to a s/h pair of diamond studded kn****rs if someone sent them as a gift:smileyvery-happy:.   (Providing they had washed them first.:smileysurprised:)

 

 


TiggerBear wrote:

I'm sorry, but am I the only one who finds used underware just YUCKY.


 

Message Edited by Choisya on 11-14-2008 02:51 AM

Oh no still YUCKY! My opinion of the Japanese went down a notch when I discovered they have vending machines for used girls panties. Just totally one of the most disgusting fetishes. (shudder)