Has Barack Obama Given Back Enough?

Michelle Obama speaking to the Democratic National Convention about her husband, President Barack Obama, on September 4, 2012:

Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it…and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we’re from, or what we look like, or who we love.

And he believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity…you do not slam it shut behind you…you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.

If you saw the tributes to the unpublicized charitable work that Mitt Romney does at the RNC you know that this is a man who has been giving more than money (his 2011 returns indicate that he donated $4M of his $20M adjusted gross income to charity – 20%) to charity – he is personally involved in helping others. See the Grant Bennett video and the Pam Finlayson video (it’s a tear-jerker), and the Pat and Ted Oparowski video (another tear-jerker).

Michelle Obama’s assertion makes me wonder what Barack Obama has really done to reach back and give other folks the same chances he had.

The only avenue available to me was to go back and examine their charitable contributions. For answers we turn to Barack Obama’s website at http://www.barackobama.com/tax-returns/

  • Barack H. & Michell L. Obama 2011 Federal Tax Return
    Adjusted Gross Income: 789,674
    Gifts to Charity: 172,130
    Percentage of Charity/AGI – 21.7%
    [Note that there nearly $3M of treasury bonds were claimed on Capital Gains forms, though the cost basis was the same as the sales price. Not being a tax attorney I’ve got no idea what this actually means.]
  • Barack H. & Michell L. Obama 2010 Federal Tax Return
    Adjusted Gross Income: 1,728,096
    Gifts to Charity: 245,075
    Percentage of Charity/AGI – 14.2%
  • Barack H. & Michell L. Obama 2009 Federal Tax Return
    Adjusted Gross Income: 5,505,409
    Gifts to Charity: 329,100
    Percentage of Charity/AGI – 5.98%
  • Barack H. & Michell L. Obama 2008 Federal Tax Return
    Adjusted Gross Income: 2,656,902
    Gifts to Charity: 172,050
    Percentage of Charity/AGI – 6.47%
  • Barack H. & Michell L. Obama 2007 Federal Tax Return
    Adjusted Gross Income: 4,139,965
    Gifts to Charity: 240,370
    Percentage of Charity/AGI – 5.8%
  • Barack H. & Michell L. Obama 2006 Federal Tax Return
    Adjusted Gross Income: 983,826
    Gifts to Charity: 60,307
    Percentage of Charity/AGI – 6.12%
  • Barack H. & Michell L. Obama 2005 Federal Tax Return
    Adjusted Gross Income: 1,655,106
    Gifts to Charity: 77,315
    Percentage of Charity/AGI – 4.67%
  • Barack H. & Michell L. Obama 2004 Federal Tax Return
    Adjusted Gross Income: 207,647
    Gifts to Charity: 2,500
    Percentage of Charity/AGI – 1.2%
  • Barack H. & Michell L. Obama 2003 Federal Tax Return
    Adjusted Gross Income: 238,327
    Gifts to Charity: 3,400
    Percentage of Charity/AGI – 1.42%
  • Barack H. & Michell L. Obama 2002 Federal Tax Return
    Adjusted Gross Income: 259,394
    Gifts to Charity: 1,050
    Percentage of Charity/AGI – .4%
  • Barack H. & Michell L. Obama 2001 Federal Tax Return
    Adjusted Gross Income: 272,759
    Gifts to Charity: 1,470
    Percentage of Charity/AGI – .54%
  • Barack H. & Michell L. Obama 2000 Federal Tax Return
    Adjusted Gross Income: 240,505
    Gifts to Charity: 2,350
    Percentage of Charity/AGI – .98%

Obama made approximately 15M between 2005 and 2009 and gave about $900K (about 6% of his AGI) to charity. He’s upped his giving in the last two years (mostly giving to The Fisher House), but historically he gave at the 1% level, and when he started selling lots of books and getting famous he upped that to the 6% level.

That’s commendable, but hardly extraordinary.

Mom-In-Chief
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