Bernie and Beto Not Very Charitable

The Democrat presidential candidates are releasing their taxes as the battle for the 2020 title of Lord of the (progressive) Flies heats up.

Two especially rich candidates, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former congressman Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke are not nearly as generous with their money and they plan to be with yours.

Last night, The Washington Post reported that Beto O’Rourke released his tax returns for the past ten years. Of course, the feel-good, inevitably government-expanding presidential contender should probably have been more hesitant to release his returns because it doesn’t take much sleuthing to figure out from them that the O’Rourkes made $370,412 in 2017 while giving a measly $1,166 of that income to charity. As The Post noted, this makes Beto’s charitable giving less than one-third of 1 percent of his household income.

Other candidates who claim conservatives are the true greedy ones and deserve to be smited for their fiscal sins don’t stack up much better. Bernie Sanders and his wife gave roughly 3 percent of their astonishingly large $566,000 income to charity in 2017. Interestingly, Sanders recently talked about his impressive sum of book earnings, and Reason’s Peter Suderman pointed out that the socialist is indeed a millionaire.

It’s not just these two old, white males who are stingy. Some of the progressive ladies who want to redistribute your wealth were not redistributing theirs.

Kamala Harris (and her husband) made nearly $2 million in 2018, giving 1.4 percent to charity (which totals out to about $27,000); Elizabeth Warren (and her husband) made just shy of $1 million (donating an improved 5.5 percent to charity in 2018).

Sanders appeared on a Fox News town hall earlier this week and bristled at the suggestion that he shouldn’t have taken the Trump tax cut that gave him some extra pocket change.

Asked why he didn’t give the government the difference between what he paid in taxes under Trump — 26 percent — and his own top marginal tax rate of 52 percent, Sanders shot back to MacCallum, “Martha, why don’t you give? You make more money than I do.”

MacCallum answered, “I didn’t suggest a wealth tax.”

Baier chimed in, “And she’s not running for president.”

Why not walk the walk? Many of these rich cultural and political celebrities don’t overpay their taxes. Do they spend time volunteering? Mentoring at-risk youth? Paying the medical bills of a disadvantaged  family with a sick child?

The generosity of regular Americans hit a record in 2017: “powered by a booming stock market and a strong economy, charitable giving by American individuals, bequests, foundations and corporations to U.S. charities surged to an estimated $410.02 billion in 2017, according to Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017.”

“The increase in giving in 2017 was generated in part by increases in the stock market, as evidenced by the nearly 20 percent growth in the S&P 500. Investment returns funded multiple very large gifts, most of which were given by individuals to their foundations, including two gifts of $1 billion or more,” said Amir Pasic, Ph.D., the Eugene R. Tempel dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “This tells us that some of our most fortunate citizens are using their wealth to make some significant contributions to the common good.”

It sound like the Trump economy has helped generate money for charity, imagine that.

About Liz Sheld

Liz Sheld is the senior news editor at American Greatness. She is a veteran political strategist and pollster who has worked on campaigns and public interest affairs. Liz has written at Breitbart and The Federalist, as well as at PJ Media, where she wrote "The Morning Briefing." In her spare time, she shoots sporting clays and watches documentaries.

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