The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

26 December 2005

Donor party

Here are two guys with a commitment of sorts to charity:

We, James Hong and Josh Blumenstock, hereby make a personal promise to you that we will give 10% of whatever we make over $100,000 each year to charity.

We're making this commitment because we think it will help make the world a better place, and we're encouraging people to make the same promise to themselves and to their friends.

A laudable idea, though Erica asks:

Yay for grassroots effort and all, but if you make $100k can't you already afford to give a good 10% out of that?

Jacqueline seems to think so, and at the moment she makes quite a bit below $100k:

Christians give 10% of their income to their church, and they seem to be doing pretty well in the world domination department. Which got me thinking, what if we ALL gave 10% of our incomes to support our favorite causes or charity? What would the world look like then?

Well, not all Christians do that, and I don't think it's required, but it certainly strikes me as praiseworthy.

The Tax History Project has copies of recent Presidential tax returns; on impulse, I took a peek at the 2004 numbers. George W. and Laura W. Bush reported an adjusted gross income of $784,219, and deducted charitable contributions of $77,785, which is 9.92 percent. Close enough to 10 percent, I'd say. (Closer than I got, I admit.)

Posted at 8:14 AM to Almost Yogurt

TrackBack: 10:52 AM, 27 December 2005
» Parsimonious (adj.) from Dan and Angi have something to say

What a sad, sad world we live in when giving 10% of your income OVER $100,000 is considered generous. You're a good person. You want to make the world a better place by contributing to charities and non-profits, but you simply don't kn...

...[read more]

"...what if we ALL gave 10% of our incomes to support our favorite causes or charity? What would the world look like then?"

Pretty badly screwed up.

Predators have an instinct for prey; financial predators no less so than any other kind. 10% of all our incomes would amount to about 10% of the U.S. GDP: about 1.1 TRILLION DOLLARS. There's too much temptation in that figure. There's essentially no chance that any appreciable fraction of that would reach persons in genuine need, would raise persons in genuine need into a condition of self-sufficiency, or would avoid stoking bonfires of cupidity in the hearts of those whose motto is "grab while the grabbing is good."

Charity should be kept local, and personal, and as far as possible it should be tendered as goods, not as cash. Most poor people aren't yet able to handle cash; it's the usual reason why they're poor.

Be charitable, but be sensible as well. This is a devout Catholic talking -- who's made some pretty bad missteps in his attempts to do unto others as he would have them do unto him. Verbum sat sapienti.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 4:27 PM on 26 December 2005

Just to clarify my stance on it, the part that leaves a bad taste in my mouth is the part about "10% of my income over $100k." If I made that much money, I'd be giving some of it away already. I think it's kind of sad that folks with that kind of income need an internet movement to inspire them and pat themselves on the back for their charity.

Posted by: Erica at 11:09 PM on 29 December 2005