Is Rick Santorum a Miser?

The Family Santorum

Over at The New York Times, columnist Charles Blow criticizes Rick Santorum for not donating more money to charity:

“(C)haritable giving doesn’t appear to be high on Motor Mouth Santorum’s list of priorities. As The Washington Post pointed out, based on Santorum’s tax return disclosure this week, he has given the least amount to charity of the four presidential candidates who have disclosed their tax returns. (Ron Paul has not.) His charitable giving was just 1.8 percent of his adjusted gross income. The Obamas were the highest, giving 14.2 percent, even though their income was second lowest.”

One wishes Santorum had given more money to charity. Tithing is a pillar of the Judeo-Christian social ethic, although one that is widely flouted. But Santorum’s comparative lack of giving is if not admirable at least understandable. He is the father of seven children (!). He needs to pay not only for his kids’ college tuition but also for the medical bills of his youngest daughter, Bella, who has a rare genetic disease.

Santorum’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth, is enrolled in college, although she is taking the year off to work on her dad’s campaign, as is his oldest son, John. His other kids are 4 to 14 years old. Although Santorum has criticized the idea that every child must attend college, he is paying for Elizabeth’s tuition. One presumes he will pay for the rest of his kids’ college tuition too.

That’s why a comparison between Santorum’s charitable donations and those of Obama’s and Romney’s is not fair. Obama has two children of school age, while Romney’s are grown up. No wonder they gave more money to charity. Their future financial liabilities are a lot less.

Sure, Santorum could decide not to pay for his kids’ college expenses and future college expenses as well as Bella’s medical bills to boost his charitable giving totals, but Americans likely would not consider such a decision charitable. Probably they would consider it un-charitable, miserly even. Charity does begin at home after all.

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29 thoughts on “Is Rick Santorum a Miser?

  1. Justeds says:

    I thought tithing was supposed to 10% net, not gross. And since when were deductions allowed? Is there a ‘Tithing Code’ I haven’t seen? What other loopholes are there? Are there special tithing consultants to advise us now?

  2. John J. Jakubczyk says:

    There is a bit of a difference in the incomes, the number of children and the primary residence not to mention the medical and educational needs of those children. but if one wants to get focused, one looks at Obama’s charitable giving over the four years prior to his becoming president, not to mention Joe Biden’s audacious giving.

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