Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The President's Call to Serve

I've been paying attention lately to President Obama call out Americans to roll up their sleeves and serve their communities. There was an interesting article in the KC Star talking about how little people give of their time.....basically not many regularly do. Can't find it now. I love the call to service. I'd just prefer that maybe he and his wife lead a little more by example as well.

I've been a big proponent of people serving their fellow man, giving of yourself to help those around you. I live it myself and I really think I get more out of it than I ever give. One of my very early blog posts was about the very subject (looking back the blog has changed a bit)....almost like President Obama stole my message :-).

But here is the deal. In a little research I found that in their time in Chicago his wife Michelle was paid $96,000 a year to sit on two boards of corportations, long known to be the perks of those with connections, instead of sitting on two boards of not for profits for free. She later quit one because it seemed hypocritical based on positions her husband took against Wal-Mart which that company did substantial business. It is easy to say they have two small children and are busy but so do I and I think demonstrating to your children the value in helping others, not just telling others to do so, is a stronger statement.

Further, I heard a great comment that has really stuck with me. A Pastor told me once if you want to know a man's real priorities look at just two things: his daytimer and his checkbook. How does he spend his time and his money? Everything else is pure crap.

Let's take a look at his pocket book. So, like many liberals who love to spend your money they don't like to give away much of their own. I'll digress here a bit but I think that a hand up from the government versus a well intentioned neighbor or individual is critically different. I think the act of blessing someone individually is far superior in the effect and real outcome for both parties involved. Don't you think so? With the exception of the year he ran for President I gave both a larger percentage AND and a larger flat amount of dollars from 2000 to 2006 to charities than our President and his wife. Considering his income in the first few years was 3 times mine and after becoming a senator more than 10 times mine I'd say is pitiful. Am I special or incredibly charitable? Probably not. I'd say I'm more typical than not. We target 10% as our goal for charitable giving. Some years we have been fortunate to give more but we've always beat that number. Giving time and money is one of our social responsibilities. We also teach the same principle to our children who give 10% of their allowance to a charity of their choice.

Below is the percentage of income given to charity for the Obama's. Notice it ramped up as he started to run for President. Prior to running he gave between a half a percent and one and half percent to charity. Piss. Poor. In many of those early years listed below you are talking about less than $2000 per year.

2006: 6.1%

2005: 4.7%

2004: 1.2%

2003: 1.4%

2002: 0.4%

2001: 0.5%

2000: 0.9%

David Drake writes a very interesting article on the subject with some great links to back up his points. Check it out.

It was laughable that on Al Gore's 1997 Tax return that he and Tipper gave $373 to charity. Sure they tried to explain it away but seriously.....how can that been seen as being socially responsible? Previous years were much higher but only from the income generated from Tipper's book sales that were promoted as going to charity.

Are you starting to get my drift here? It is hard to not like President Obama but he has to be careful because if people start to view him as not being the genuine guy they think he is then he will have lost much of people rallied around. The kids today place a high value on authenticity. He can't be just another do as I say and not as I do or in this case as I've done.

Nope, you'll have to do better Barack if you want my respect on community service and charitable giving.


Anonymous said...

We who? Your family? Thats really neat sojoco I like your blog keep up the wonderful work!

Anonymous said...

JOCO-I see Obama's interests as purely about his own image & power not serving mankind. I'm certain you know that you can contact the White House with your feedback, comments and concerns. Our new administration welcomes it. I would but fear a tax audit.
Cold&Scared in WI

Bill the Painter said...

Obviously it's easier for them to give away other peoples' money that their own.

I'd rather do community service work (painting for disabled vets) than give money. I can better afford to give my time.

JOCOeveryman said...

We...yes my family. When it comes to money we are all for one and one for all....thanks for reading the blog.

WI - I agree completely. You don't think President Obama is already monitoring this blog for important feedback? I'm shocked.

Bill, I think giving your time is awesome and when you give professional services you really are giving money so don't sell that short either. Can't be replaced so good for you.