Wednesday, September 17, 2008

From Fred, Fan, and Joe

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae - y'know, those two mostly-private mortgage giants that the government recently took over in a scene that would fit perfectly in a Godfather sequel (Treasury Secretary sits them down at the table and makes them an offer they will not be allowed to refuse) - also make campaign contributions. I find the list of top donors intriguing.

Top Recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Campaign Contributions, 1989-2008

1. Dodd, Christopher J, D-CT
2. Kerry, John, D-MA
3. Obama, Barack, D-IL
4. Clinton, Hillary, D-NY


N.B.: Senator Dodd is Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.


Why do I find this intriguing? Well, the claim in newspapers from the Wall Street Journal to the New York Times (and if those two agree, there must be a kernel of truth) is that economists and cabinet members have saying for over a decade that the government oversight of the two companies the government created and implicitly backed was severely lacking. The Times' statement is that "Lawmakers, paralyzed by partisan infighting, delayed strengthening regulatory oversight of the politically powerful companies." It's also amazing that with two decades to pour money into Dodd's and others' pockets, that Obama and Clinton managed to rake in so much in so little time.

And while I'm busy copying and pasting from mighty macroeconomist Mankiw's blog, let me swipe the following as well:


Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden released 10 years of tax returns Friday...The Bidens' joint gross income hovered between $215,000 and $320,000 a year during this period...The amount they gave to charity during this period never exceeded one-half of 1% of their annual income. The Bidens never gave more than $995 to charity in any of the tax years, and usually gave much less.(Source)
Compare Biden's behavior to that of a typical American:
The IRS reports that those who itemize deductions on their income tax returns have claimed, since 1975, that between 1.6 percent and 2.16 percent of their income went to charitable concerns. (Source)
This contrast is an example of a broader phenomenon:
conservatives who practice religion, live in traditional nuclear families and reject the notion that the government should engage in income redistribution are the most generous Americans, by any measure. Conversely, secular liberals who believe fervently in government entitlement programs give far less to charity. They want everyone's tax dollars to support charitable causes and are reluctant to write checks to those causes. (Source)

Joe Biden's Adjusted Gross Income and Charitable Gifts

1 comment:

Desi said...

Wow. Quite an interesting collection of numbers. Just how, I wonder, do they expect life in this country to keep functioning smoothly? A bit of an eye popper! Thanks for the insight!