Charity Begins At Home by Dan Vojir
Let the poor contribute to their own damn charities!
Mitt Romney has a problem because he released only two income tax returns. Now Paul Ryan has a problem because he released two too many: the sole returns he released give a glaring portrait of a man who is stingy to the poor personally as well as professionally.
Tax returns show for 2010 and 2011 show that the Ryans donated $12,991 and $2,600 respectively. Ryan's income for those years totaled well over $650,000, showing that the family donated only 2.4% of its income to charity.
That's right. 2.4 percent.* The national average of charitable giving is 3.5%, with the bottom of the scale giving proportionately MORE:
"The Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest survey of consumer expenditure found that the poorest fifth of U.S. households contributed an average of 4.3 percent of their incomes to charitable organizations in 2007. The richest fifth gave at less than half that rate, 2.1 percent."
So while Ryan gave an incredibly magnanimous
.3 percent more than the richest fifth, it still looks kinda bad for the
Wisconsin rep doesn't it? Especially in the light of his economic policies, the
brunt of which rest on the statement that charities will "pick up the
slack" for the poor.
In Step With The Christian Right
The Christian Right (especially its Tea Party faction) will find a way to spin Ryan's miserly ways, to be sure: maybe he interpreted Nostradamus' work to foresee that he, Ryan, would become Vice President, but only if he saved up for it.** It has long been trying to point out (in convoluted fashion) why Ryan's budget cuts will help its Christian churches in the long run. In an earlier article (OpEdNews, The Christian Right's Latest Strategy, Sept. 21, 2011), it was pointed out that cuts in government services would bring the "sinning" poor back to the church:
"So there you have it: the poor are poor because they've sinned. The government has coddled the poor and taken them away from the church. We've heard it before, but not in such an outlandish venue. And the solution for this terrible situation is to strip the government of all its services and programs so that the only programs the poor can avail themselves will be 'faith-based.'"
Then they can turn to Paul Ryan's private income to help them "pick up the slack."
Unfortunately, a closer look at the the Ryan plan reveals the starving out of "faith-based" organizations and charities: Economist and scholar of safety net programs Scott W. Allard (University of Chicago):
"The Ryan budget cuts would also directly hobble nonprofits -- and thus reduce their capacities as needs rises. In every U.S. community, local religious and secular nonprofits serve the poor with the help of grants from the federal and state government. But the Republican-Ryan budget would unravel all this from the top. To fund tax cuts for the rich, it would take away federal monies, leaving the states with much less to channel through charities. Many local nonprofits would have to close their doors, and even familiar regional social service organizations -- like Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, and Jewish Family Services -- would find it hard to maintain services, let alone expand them to new needs."
A Rabbit Out Of Ryan's Hat
Congressman slashes budget effecting the poor and the elderly. Congressman says that charities will "pick up the slack" in proving those same services. Congressman gives disproportionately small amount to charities.
Probably the only people thriving during this debacle of hypocrisy will be the spin doctors - aka campaign managers: if they can pull off any spin at all, they're good for more campaign jobs.
*And what of the Romneys? 12.5% (mostly through tithing to the LDS Church). What of Santorum? The worst: 1.7%. In comparison, Obama gave 14.5% in 2010.
**Hey, they've come up with weirder explanations. They're still trying desperately to support Tod Akin's "Legitimate rape" comment as fact.