News your connection to The Boston Globe

Kerry's charity gap

Page 2 of 2 -- Over the past six years, Weld has reported gross income totaling $1,082,875, of which 15.2 percent has gone to charity. Kerry's six-year total income is $724,042; according to his federal tax returns, he earmarked just under seven-10ths of 1 percent for charitable contributions. When Kerry (or any candidate) declares that the deck is stacked against the poor, is it not fair to ask how much he has personally given to help unstack the deck? In Kerry's case, the answer seems to be: next to nothing.

It's one thing to talk about compassion and sitting in poor people's kitchens and supporting this or that government program. Quite another to write a personal check to the Good Samaritan Hospice. (Or, for that matter, to spend time delivering Meals on Wheels or volunteering in a homeless shelter.) Only in politics do men call themselves ''compassionate'' for voting to spend other people's money. And only in politics are people who earn a lot and give away a lot denounced as ''greedy.''

Conceivably, Kerry is a secret philanthropist whose modesty won't let him take credit for his donations. More likely, he simply disdains private giving and volunteering. He evidently doesn't regard it as a political liability to be releasing tax returns that show a blank in the space marked ''Gifts to Charity.'' If he did, he would have found some charitable endeavor -- a food pantry, a hospital, the Disabled American Veterans, something -- to help. What kind of candidate is it who not only is selfish with his private funds, but doesn't care who knows it?

Pop-up RELATED GRAPHIC: The comparison

In his April announcement speech, Kerry mocked the notion that serious problems can be solved without statism.

''It may be fashionable to say: Let the private sector take care of everything,'' he said. ''But will the private sector stop pollution? Raise the minimum wage? Education our youngsters? Provide health care for all?'' Not if it has to depend on the generosity of people like Kerry, it won't.

Of course Kerry has his virtues. But there is something very wrong with a man who makes more than $120,000 a year and gives only scraps to help those who are less fortunate than he. Perhaps John Kerry should shelve the sermons on how rich Republicans are cheating the poor. At least until his own heart thaws. 

 Previous    1   2
Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months