UPDATE: My math is indeed incorrect. The average of 611 million in revenue DOES include revenue from non-private donations and the totals for the top 200 charities is 37.4 billion, not 122.2 as I stated, 89% of which came from private sources.
I regret the error. My thanks to the PoliPundit and The Rio Norte Line readers who pointed it out.
I expected that my post on poverty would draw some fire from our leftist lurkers because, you know, conservatives are heartless and hate the poor – or something like that.
Well, here are a few little inconvenient factoids;
- The federal budget for the Department of Health and Human Services for fiscal year 2012 was proposed by the president to total $892 billion.
- Of that $892 billion, 84% goes to Medicare/Medicaid.
- Welfare spending directed at families and children is budgeted at $104.7 billion.
- Forbes Magazine reports that the top 200 charities in the USA took in an average of $611 million each in donations in 2010 for total revenue of $122.2 billion.
The fact remains that the US is the most generous country on the face of the earth and according to Arthur C. Brooks in his 2006 book, Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism, political conservatives give more, despite having incomes that are on average 6 percent lower than liberals. He also found that there are three cultural values that best predict charitable giving: religious participation, political views, and family structure. He found that:
- Ninety-one percent of people who identify themselves as religious are likely to give to charity, writes Brooks, as opposed to 66 percent of people who do not. The religious giving sector is just as likely to give to secular programs as it is to religious causes.
- Those who think government should do more to redistribute income are less likely to give to charitable causes, and those who believe the government has less of a role to play in income redistribution tend to give more.
- Finally, people who couple and raise children are more likely to give philanthropically than those who do not. The more children there are in a family, the more likely that a family will donate to charity.
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.
It occurs to me that the accusations that liberals level at conservatives about “not caring about the poor” are simple incidents of transference. Where they prefer taxes and a faceless interaction with people who need help, conservatives prefer direct giving and a more personal approach. One has to make a personal decision to donate to a charity – with taxes, it just gets anonymously deducted from your check.
Which approach is more caring?