Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Politico: Study: Red States More Charitable:
Red states give more money to charity than blue states, according to a new study on Monday. The eight states with residents who gave the highest share of their income to charity supported Sen. John McCain in 2008, while the seven states with the least generous residents went for President Barack Obama, the Chronicle of Philanthropy found in its new survey of tax data from the IRS for 2008.
The eight states whose residents gave the highest share of their income — Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Idaho, Arkansas and Georgia — all backed McCain in 2008. Utah leads charitable giving, with 10.6% of income given.
And the least generous states — Wisconsin, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire — were Obama supporters in the last presidential race. New Hampshire residents gave the least share of their income, the Chronicle stated, with 2.5%.
“The reasons for the discrepancies among states, cities, neighborhoods are rooted in part in each area’s political philosophy about the role of government versus charity,” the study’s authors noted.
But it’s not just about politics — “religion has a big influence on giving patterns.” “Regions of the country that are deeply religious are more generous than those that are not. Two of the top nine states—Utah and Idaho—have high numbers of Mormon residents, who have a tradition of tithing at least 10 percent of their income to the church,” the study states. “The remaining states in the top nine are all in the Bible Belt.”
Boston Globe op-ed: Stingy Liberals, by Jeff Jacoby:
There are 366 major metropolitan areas in the United States, and a comprehensive new study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy ranks them on the basis of generosity — the percentage of income the median household in each city gives to charity. According to the Chronicle, the most generous city in America is Provo, Utah, where residents typically give away 13.9% of their discretionary income. Boston, by contrast, ranks No. 358: In New England’s leading city, the median household donates just 2.9% of its income to charity. ...
Liberals, popular stereotypes notwithstanding, are not more generous and compassionate than conservatives. To an outsider it might seem plausible that Americans whose political rhetoric emphasizes “fairness” and “social justice” would be more charitably inclined than those who stress economic liberty and individual autonomy. But reams of evidence contradict that presumption, as Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks demonstrated in his landmark 2006 book, Who Really Cares.
However durable the myth, wrote Brooks (who now heads the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank), there is no getting around the data. For years, academic research and national studies have confirmed that Americans who lean to the left politically tend to be much less charitable than those who tilt rightward. The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s new report is only the latest in a long series of studies corroborating that fact. ...
In parts of the country where conservative values dominate, charity tends to be high. Where liberalism holds sway, charity falls. “Red states are more generous than blue states,” the Chronicle concludes. The eight states that ranked the highest in charitable giving all voted for John McCain in 2008. The seven lowest-ranking states supported Barack Obama.
Of course this doesn’t mean that there aren’t generous philanthropists in New England. It doesn’t mean selfishness is unknown on the right. What it does mean is that where people are encouraged to think that solving society’s ills is primarily a job for government, charity tends to evaporate. The politics of “compassion” isn’t the same as compassionate behavior. America’s generosity divide separates those who understand the difference from those who don’t.