Facts: Cheap in America?

There was a great show on 20/20 tonight called “Cheap in America.” The show detailed a lot of facts about exactly who gives money to charity. The following is a list of my favorite facts:

  • In 25 states where people give an above average percent of their income, 24 were red states in the last presidential election.
  • Conservatives give about 30% more money despite the fact that they often make slightly less money.
  • People who give one thing, tend to be the people who give everything. For example, those who give cash also give blood.
  • People who believe it’s the government’s job to make incomes more equal are far less likely to give their money away.
  • Philanthropy is more efficient than government spending, because when we spend our own money we stop spending when a project doesn’t work.
  • People at the lower end of the income scale give 30% more of their income.
  • The most charitable people in America are the working poor.
  • Compared to the rich and the working poor the middle income Americans give the least.
  • The biggest predictor of whether someone is charitable: Religious Participation
  • Religious individuals are more likely to give, and more likely to give more money to both religious and non-religious charities.
  • Americans give more and volunteer more than the citizens of any other country. 7x more money than those in Germany, 14X more than those in Italy.
  • Americans are anything but cheap, contributions this year totalled 260 billion dollars.

4 thoughts on “Facts: Cheap in America?”

  1. Aww, I can believe all of those conclusions. I know socialists and leftists are anything but charitable. We are red-staters, religious, and give money, time, and blood. I’d give away clothing if it were wearable when I am finished with it, and we have donated to food pantries in the past.
    It makes no sense to me though, if you support income redistribution, shouldn’t you be willing to give away ALL of the money that exceeds what you’d have after a redistribution? Wouldn’t that be more “equal”?

  2. I live in MD, a primarily Democratic state. I consider myself a moderate although I do try to vote based on the issues not the party lines.

    A co-worker and I had a great debate a couple of years ago about charitable giving. She kept saying that the government doesn’t do enough to help others, but when I mentioned how much my husband and I donate to charity and asked how much she gave, she fell absolutely silent. It’s funny how often people are willing to give away other people’s money, but are unwilling to part with their own.

  3. oh please. i give a ton, and i’m a liberal. i have given money ever since i first started living on my own, just out of college. and i live in the bay area! i DON’T give at the salvation army posts during the holidays because they are a religious organization, and that is not where i focus my giving.

    furthermore, a lot of the religious people who give money are giving it to their churches, money which is then spent on programs and events for who else but the churchgoers. to call that charitable giving is really close to lying.

  4. and i will add that i, just like dimes above, i donate ALL of my clothing once i am done with it. i don’t even claim it as a tax deduction – i’m sure other liberals like me do the same. and i give to food pantries regularly, around the year, not just at christmas, when they can sometimes be overwhelmed with donations to the point where they can’t use all of the food that they get before it spoils. (meanwhile at the other times of the year, they go needy, because so many people only think to give during the christmas holidays.) i am sick of the propoganda in this country that claims that only religious (read: christian) people are kind, giving, charitable, good people. it’s just not true. as another blogger pointed out, the salvation army is anti-gay. no wonder they weren’t a success in san francisco.


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