Secrets of Service

President Obama has been promoting community service and taking care of your fellow American ever since he began campaigning for his current job.

In his election night speech in Chicago, Obama proclaimed, "So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other."

In his inaugural address, he implored all of us to "embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than [our]selves." He said that "it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all."  He explained that it will be America's "kindness ...selflessness ...and courage... that finally decides our fate."  And he concluded that these qualities are "the price and the promise of citizenship."

On his first day of office, Obama issued these lines in his White House press conference: "...we are here as public servants and public service is a privilege....Public service is, simply and absolutely, about advancing the interests of Americans."

But who is the President really talking to?  After all, studies show that conservatives and Republicans have been voluntarily taking care of others for quite some time.  And they do it much more often and more generously than liberals and Democrats.

  • Conservatives participate in volunteering activities more frequently than liberals.
  • Conservatives donate blood more frequently than liberals.
  • Conservatives are more likely to give aid to a homeless person on the street.
  • Conservatives donate more money to charities, both religious and non-religious.
  • Of the 25 states who give the most to charity, nearly all are red states.
Political leaning and religious affiliation are not the only qualities that seem to be key indicators, however. and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics show that race and age also seem to hint towards generosity.

  • Whites volunteer more often than blacks, and Hispanics volunteer less than any other minority.
  • Whites also donate more money to charities than blacks, and again, Hispanics give away much less.
  • People in their 20s volunteer less than any other age demographic.
  • People in their 20s also donate money only half as frequently as other adults.
Strangely, though, it was minorities and young people that overwhelmingly voted for the beneficent Barack Obama.  Kind of seems like they didn't understand who they were voting for.  Or maybe they did.  The median household income in America is just over $50,000, and the average household donates about 2% to charity.  Our newly elected leaders, however, are no average Americans when it comes to income...or giving.

President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, donated $240,370 to charity in 2007, which represented 5.7% of their $4 million income.  However, from 2000 through 2004, when the Obamas earned around $300,000, their charitable giving was noticeably lower-only about 1% of their income.

And we all heard how Vice President Joe Biden donated an anemic $995, or 0.3% of his 2007 income of nearly $320,000.  And this was actually up from his gifts in previous years, which ranged from only $120 to $380.

These don't seem like numbers associated with leaders who promote giving so adamantly and an America where everyone succeeds.  But maybe all politicians are just greedy, and I'm oversimplifying.  Actually, it's the other party's leaders that seem to represent more of that Obama culture he so desperately desires. 

President Bush donated 23% of his $719,000 income in 2007 to charities and churches.

Presidential candidate John McCain reported $405,409 in total 2007 income and contributed $105,467, or 26% of his total income, to charity.

Mitt Romney not only declined his $135,000 salary as governor of Massachusetts, but also declared he would donate his entire $400,000 presidential salary to charity if he was elected.

Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson's home states of Arkansas and Tennessee, respectively, are among the top ten most generous states in the nation.  Barack Obama's Illinois and Joe Biden's Delaware are in the bottom half in state generosity.

What if President Obama's team declined their enormous salaries rather than just patronizingly freezing them?  What if President Obama asked all of his millionaire friends in politics and entertainment to practice what Rick Warren, the pastor liberals love to hate, has done with his wealth?  He employs "reverse tithing" with his finances.  That means he gives away 90% of all he earns, the reciprocal of the 10% many Christians regularly donate.  Think how much good could be done for the needy.  Think how much our deficit could be reduced.  Think how much more weight liberals' words would carry if they start putting their money where their mouth is.