Biden Says Paying More in Taxes is Patriotic; If You Send A Check, They Will Cash It

September 22, 2008

Reason's Katherine Mangu-Ward looks at Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee Joe Biden's claim that paying taxes is patriotic, comparing it with his history of charitable giving, evidenced by his tax returns:

They need to pay more taxes, he said this week: "It's time to be patriotic...time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut."[...]

Despite income somewhere in the $210,432 to $321,379 category during the last 10 years (rich!), the Bidens have given between $120 to $995 to charity annually, between 0.06 percent and 0.31 percent of their income. The average taxpayer bringing in more than $200,000 makes over $20,000 of charitable contributions, according to the IRS.

The article digs up an interesting item:

The federal government has been accepting gifts since 1843—they even set up a special account for gifts "such as bequests, from individuals wishing to express their patriotism to the United States." Surprisingly, the U.S. Treasury's Bureau of Public Debt picked up $2.6 million last year from individual donations. In 2006, a 98-year-old Ohio woman even donated her entire $1.1 million estate.

Biden's Senate colleagues have taken advantage of this provision. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.) handed over a $600 tax rebate check in a fit of pique over tax cuts in 2001. "They were very generous in handing this money out to me, and I'm going to be very generous in sending it back,'' said the then-83-year-old chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

More on Election 2008 here.

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