Much is being made of the fact that Michelle and Barack Obama, when they were earning a mere quarter million after tax dollars per year, were exceptionally stingy with their charitable donations. (See here and here, for example.) If that is the whole story of their charitable contributions, that’s pretty stingy and does not reflect well on them.
Before I jump on this bandwagon, though, I’d be interested to see if, during that period in their lives, they give of their time. That’s my way of giving. I like to hang on to my money (having inherited my parents’ fear of a penniless old age), but I’m pretty generous with my time. In the last few years, I’ve probably donated an average of 100 hours per year of my time to non-profit and not-for-profit groups in which I’m interested, which really isn’t chump change when one considers the other demands made on my time.
So, while my charitable cash outflow is low (although not non-existent), my charitable contributions are nevertheless still meaningful. I’d be interested to learn what charitable work the Obamas did when they were hanging onto their money.
Visiting the poor