Friday, April 16, 2010

President Obama and Vice President Biden’s Tax Returns

You can see President Obama's tax return here; Vice-President Biden's tax return is here. (I don't know how to make the embed thingies work so that PDF files are displayed so you'll have to click through the links.)

Like every good accountant, I checked to see who prepared the returns and if I know the firm. I don't. Not that I would. Still. . . Hmmm. I wonder what the firms charged for their services. It's not clear on the returns by Obama claims a $15,722 deduction for legal and profesional fees on his book royalty income so their fee is likely buried in there somewhere. Looks like I'll be raising fees next year!

Obama did very well for himself thanks to his book royalties so good for him. And good for Biden. He did well, too. Obama donated his Nobel Prize to charity and made some other large charitable contributions but for a guy who earned $5 million and whose living expenses are picked up by the American people, you'd think he could afford to give away a little more. Same thing for Biden - he earned far less than Obama but still, why so stingy when it comes to charitable giving? Oh, right. They believe it's the government's role to help the less fortunate, not private individuals. Carry on, then.

Charitable giving, like prayer, ought to be done in private and not draw attention to itself and it's only because they're required to do so does Obama and Biden's charitable giving become public. But you'd think for that very reason, if no other, they'd be a little more generous than they appear to be. Sure, we could all do better - goodness knows I've got clients who give huge chunks of their income to worthy causes yet they still manage maintain a decent standard of living - but Obama and Biden are in leadership positions that set the tone for the rest of the country.

Look, I'm not trying to start a charitable giving contest here or imply a person's moral worth is tied to what they give. You do what you can do and what you're moved to do. But, come on, guys. You want to raise taxes on us. Biden even calls it our patriotic duty. So Stick a crowbar in your wallets and show us how it's done.

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