Tuesday, December 23

Liberals are stingy, Conservatives are generous

Now this made me wonder a bit. But first a bit of background. As regular readers of this blog would know, I am working with a charity for a long time. And bloody hell, its tough to get people to donate. Forget about donating their own money, even equipment which would normally go to waste is also not donated. Simply because it would take time for them to get off their butt and shake loose the equipment.

But its tough, quite difficult for people to actually give here in the UK. Speaking to the Charity's CEO, she said that she found that the conservative run councils are better at supporting charities compared to Labour or LibDem councils. I have also have had debates with people who say that Europeans give more than Americans, I am afraid its the governments who offer more aid, not individuals. After all, when everybody is paying for it, then it doesnt come out of my pocket. And proportionally, that tax dependent philanthropy hits the poor more. So when anybody moans about how Americans are stingy, you know immediately that the person personally will, most probably, not be a giving person. But here's Nicholas Kristoff's column of this. I quote some interesting bits:

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.

Something similar is true internationally. European countries seem to show more compassion than America 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 G.N.P., 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.

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, Mr. Brooks said, the American blood supply would increase by 45 percent.

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