Skip to comments.The survey says ... liberals are stingier
Posted on 12/23/2008 5:28:09 AM PST by rhema
This holiday season is a time to examine who's been naughty and who's been nice, but I'm unhappy with my findings. The problem is this: We liberals are personally stingy.
Liberals show tremendous compassion in pushing for generous government spending to help the neediest people at home and abroad. Yet, when it comes to individual contributions to charitable causes, liberals are cheapskates.
Arthur Brooks, the author of a book on donors to charity, "Who Really Cares," cites data that households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals. A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: Average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals.
Other research has reached similar conclusions. The "generosity index" from the Catalogue for Philanthropy typically finds that red states are the most likely to give to nonprofits, while Northeastern states are least likely to do so.
The upshot is that Democrats, who speak passionately about the hungry and homeless, personally fork over less money to charity than Republicans the ones who try to cut health insurance for children.
"When I started doing research on charity," Brooks wrote, "I expected to find that political liberals who, I believed, genuinely cared more about others than conservatives did would turn out to be the most privately charitable people. So when my early findings led me to the opposite conclusion, I assumed I had made some sort of technical error. I re-ran analyses. I got new data. Nothing worked. In the end, I had no option but to change my views." Something similar is true internationally. European countries seem to show more compassion than the United States in providing safety nets for the poor, and they give far more humanitarian foreign aid per capita than the United States does. But as individuals, Europeans are far less charitable than Americans.
Americans give sums to charity equivalent to 1.67 percent of GNP, according to a terrific new book, "Philanthrocapitalism," by Matthew Bishop and Michael Green. The British are second, with 0.73 percent, while the stingiest people on the list are the French, at 0.14 percent.
(Looking away from politics, there's evidence that one of the most generous groups in the United States is gays. Researchers believe that is because they are less likely to have rapacious heirs pushing to keep wealth in the family.)
When liberals see the data on giving, they tend to protest that conservatives look good only because they shower dollars on churches that a fair amount of that money isn't helping the poor but simply constructing lavish spires.
It's true that religion is the essential reason conservatives give more, and religious liberals are as generous as religious conservatives. Among the stingiest of the stingy are secular conservatives.
According to Google's figures, if donations to all religious organizations are excluded, liberals give slightly more to charity than conservatives do. But Brooks says that if measuring by the percentage of income given, conservatives are more generous than liberals even to secular causes.
In any case, if conservative donations often end up building extravagant churches, liberal donations frequently sustain art museums, symphonies, schools and universities that cater to the well-off. (It's great to support the arts and education, but they're not the same as charity for the needy. And some research suggests that donations to education actually increase inequality, because they go mostly to elite institutions attended by the wealthy.)
Conservatives also appear to be more generous than liberals in nonfinancial ways. People in red states are considerably more likely to volunteer for good causes, and conservatives give blood more often. If liberals and moderates gave blood as often as conservatives, Brooks said, the U.S. blood supply would increase by 45 percent.
So, you've guessed it! This column is a transparent attempt this holiday season to shame liberals into being more charitable. Since I often scold Republicans for being callous in their policies toward the needy, it seems only fair to reproach Democrats for being cheap in their private donations. What I want for Christmas is a healthy competition between left and right to see who actually does more for the neediest.
Of course, given the economic pinch these days, charity isn't on the top of anyone's agenda. Yet, the financial ability to contribute to charity and the willingness to do so are strikingly unrelated. Amazingly, the working poor, who have the least resources, somehow manage to be more generous as a percentage of income than the middle class.
So, even in tough times, there are ways to help. Come on, liberals, redeem yourselves, and put your wallets where your hearts are.
Captain Obvious, pick up the red phone.
Yes, even when the theft is done “by consensus” through the government, it is still theft.
This, also, precludes socialism as “charity”. People should give under no coersion, and that’s all government is - force.
...Unless they have their mitts on **your** money...
Liberals love to "give 'till it hurts.....someone else". It's all about their "good intentions" (which are paving material for the road to a certain very warm location).
It's also funny how liberals think forcing people to give money to bureaucrats and foreign dictators shows "tremendous compassion."
Liberals show tremendous compassion in
pushing for generous government spendingspending other people's money to help the neediest people at home and abroad.
Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.
But religious giving is often done out of the feeling of requirement, guilt, the rules of membership, peer pressure when the plate is passed and other prompters that pinch the giving nerve. Yes, I do know that many also give from the heart and give generously. But there are also many who give out of perceived obligation.
Hope I didn’t pay for this study...
Compulsion and obligation are not a (legitimate) part of religious giving. See my 2 Cor 9:7 post above.
The religious people I know that give to their church do so because they know where it is going to be used and approve of that expenditure.
Conversely, when “charity” is done through socialist policy, we also know where it is going to be used - to further incentivize destructive decisions.
That's the real shocker here. Liberals who imagine themselves to be freethinkers are far more dogmatic than the Christians that they criticize.
Given the evidence, the author reconsidered his dogmatic beliefs. This is a rarity for liberals, who normally deal with contradictory evidence by dismissing it or attacking the messenger.
And with any luck, some Obama people will read and heed it . . . before they begin to dispense the most lavish governmental largesse we've seen in our lifetimes.
Conservatives should stop donating money to charities.
We give money to the very people who vote in socualists. Some progams we support lobbies congress for laws that run counter to our beliefs.
We provide the funds for the destruction of our own country and way of like.
There are so many contradictions in this pap that I won't even try to show them.
Suffice to say, liberals love to spend money, read: taxes, as long as it's not their money.
And liberals, being the dumb asses that they are, do not realize that taxes are everybody's money.
You are likely quite right.
Well, they’re stingier with their own money.
Other people’s money, they freely redistribute!
Liberals truly believe that their support for socialism fully satisfies their requirement for charity.
Yeah, they'll "heed" it by calling for more tax and spend policy.
I find that a minor quibble. You don’t even attempt to quantify the two sides. I am certain that the impulse to benefit our fellow men through our religious communities is 3-4 times larger than the immediate social factors you describe, especially for larger gifts.
Since you are willing to see the other hand, the other hand also is weighted by the fact that the most EFFECTIVE charities are religious. No charities approach the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Christian Disaster Relief...etc etc in the ratio of benefits provided to contributions.
I believe that I am obligated to give to charity, but not out of some sort of external "guilt."
I have to say that I'm not religious, and don't regularly attend a synagogue, though I do have a very strong belief in G-d, and I do consider myself Jewish. I just believe that I have an obligation as a human being to help those less fortunate. I take on that obligation freely, and without any outside prompting. But I won't hold anyone else to the same standard.
I also reject the call to try to convince others to do so as well. I am against government handouts, because it's simply stealing. And it gives people a reason to not give, where they might do so on their own. It relieves them of any personal responsibility. People should be allowed to give if they have a calling to do so, and not be held to ridicule or guilt. Unless they talk about how wonderful their government handouts are, and it turns out they actually give little or nothing of their own. Then they need to be mocked.
How can you “drop religious giving” from the charitible efforts of conservatives?
That’s like saying, if you drop George Soros-influenced donations from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign funding, he took in less money than McCain.
Libs live the title of a Danny DeVito movie, “Other Peoples’ Money”.
They need to be mocked... yes.
I bring their conscience to the fore with the statement:
“You DO realize that your support for socialism in no way satisfies your personal, individual moreal requirement to help the needy, don’t you?”
Re: “relieves them of any personal responsibility”
I’ve actually heard libs denounce charity because charitable organizations “let gov’t off the hook” for helping people like they should.
Many will; some won’t. Any movement toward moral, responsible behavior — whether it’s abortion, gay marriage, or whatever — gains traction one heart or conscience at a time.
I couldn't agree less. Christ followers give from the heart and from their blessings. Those who feel guilt, peer pressure or a requirement stop attending quickly after they start.
Boy Scouts of America
Sorry to burst Mr Kristof's bubble!
If churches stopped passing the plate, making giving/tithing a part of membership and having giving envelopes, church giving would drop dramatically.
You must be a secular conservative! Belonging to a church is a private activity. People can throw $1 into a plate. If they don’t want to donate they become unchurched.
Your opinion is content free!
I think Rush had this for his morning update the other day. KLBJ AM is talking about this today. Not many libs calling in today.
Here, yes. On the Daily Kos, it’d be akin to a revelation that the earth isn’t flat.
Got anything beside conjecture to back this up?
The highest cashflow church in our area has no "plate", just envelopes and the ability to take auto-tithing through electronic transfer.
I have looked at your other posts and I have no intention of being dragged into an inane argument with you this morning.
Well, there's your mistake, Brooksie. You people are so full of yourselves, you can't see the forest for the trees. But when it comes down to brass tacks, you're a bunch of hypocrites who talk a good game, but in the end want the government (i.e., we taxpayers) to pick up the tab for all of your silly programs.
Talk is cheap...anyone can claim to be kind, caring and for all humanity...However, putting your “money where your mouth is” and taking action for what you PREACH is what separates the true givers from the hypocrites.
I love the book of James especially these verses:
James 2:14-16 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, what’s the use of saying you have faith if you don’t prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can’t save anyone.  Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing,  and you say, “Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well”but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
Liberal? Sounds like it to me....with the exception of them saying “God Bless”!
This verse I simply (just)like!
James 2:19-20 (NLT)
Do you still think it’s enough just to believe that there is one God? Well, even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror!  Fool! When will you ever learn that faith that does not result in good deeds is useless?
Long story short, I work with a guy that came from Russia (Ukraine) and he said this is how communism started. The government made it sound as if they were for the people. Equality, fairness and political connectedness...which we all know means getting rid of anything to do with Jesus or God! Eventually the press reported what benefited their left agenda, people were brainwashed and became mindless puppets of the government. last, the government was their “god”.
Sad, very sad how people here buy into this same CRAP after seeing it happen in so many other countries!
This clown tries to pretend churches keep the $$ while in truth they are giving more to the poor and needy than their own buildings. He doesn’t mention that most liberal giving is to political causes. They give to causes that make the DNC more powerful since that is where their hearts are.
Pray for W, America and Our Troops
If churches stopped passing the plate, making giving/tithing a part of membership and having giving envelopes, church giving would sadly drop dramatically.
No I with you based on your previous posts.
Well wonderful. Thoughtless giving.
Actually I am a tithing church member.
It’s pretty easy to spot who “doesn’t get it” (that would be you).
And there’s really no point in attempting to explain the “reborn” mind to those who don’t get it.
Have a nice day.
Actually there is a vast difference between church goers and truly those of a reborn mind. The ratio of the first is much higher than the second. So I get it. MAybe you don’t?
They have been putting their wallets where their hearts are.
Liberals, at heart, are mean spirited, vindictive people.
I would say that because of our sinful nature, it is impossible for one to give based on pure altruism. It is what we do out of thanks, but that sinful, grudging, or prideful nature is there.
Spending other people’s money isn’t about generosity, it’s about POWER.