What a coincidence and “Who Really Cares“
This past Tuesday I read a Thomas Sowell article about the book referenced above and was going to write about it. I held off because I haven’t read the book and can’t cite the author’s sources. I still haven’t read the book, but as coincidence would have it as I was traveling home from Northern New Jersey tonight I had the opportunity to speak with the author.
On my drive I was listening to Bruce Elliott on WBAL. His guest was the author of this very book, Arthur Brooks, a Professor of Public Administration and Director of the Nonprofit Studies Program at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
So I called in to the show and asked Professor Brooks about his sources. He replied that the book documents his sources thoroughly, and then reminded me of what he has said earlier which was that he doubted his original conclusions so he went back and got new data. What happened? He came up with the very same results. He also said that his book (released on Tuesday) would certainly lead to a lot of recriminations and “do overs”. However, he stands by the book and would defend his conclusions.
All the rage
John Stossel, ABC 20/20, did a report on the topic.
Bill O’Reilly did too
A Primer for you.
One of the primary differences between liberals and conservatives is what the role of the Federal government has in meeting the social welfare needs of its citizens. I think we almost all agree that government has a role here. However, the rub is how much of a role. Pardon the stereotypes here, but I adhere to these beliefs.
Liberals typically think the Feds have a larger role in this area than conservatives do. Conservatives tend to lean more toward personal responsibility. Liberals tend to believe that the government should provide more services and if a redistribution of wealth (via taxes) is required to do so then they are more inclined to go that route.
Like most people I have compassion for those less fortunate than me and I want to help. I don’t want to give government a blank check to do so. Not because it is my money. Not because that blank check means money at all. That blank check means more government power, intervention, and authoritarianism. Government does great things. Government (particularly the Feds) also does things that it should not be doing because it doesn’t have the constitutional authority to do them. They also don’t do them that well.
I am not the only one who thought so.
Thomas Jefferson said many things and is often quoted like the bible. Here is one for you:
“The greatest [calamity] which could befall [us would be] submission to a government of unlimited powers.”
Thomas Jefferson and his peers were all to aware of the calamity of the man named Oliver Cromwell and the King of England and what absolute power can do to the people of a nation. They wanted limited Federal government for a very good reason – they were afraid of a Federal government that would grow so large that it would threaten our liberties. That it would create an Oliver Cromwell.
What am I talking about? I am talking about a Federal government who redistributes wealth to everyone. Corporate welfare. Social welfare. Agricultural welfare. Perscription drug welfare. Congress has a great thing going. They take our money and use it maintain power by giving money to the special interest of the day. IBM one day and the bridge to no where the next. Over 2/3rds of the Federal budget goes to these kinds of programs moving money from one group to another group. That creates great constituencies and a “submission to a government of unlimted powers.” that keep them in power.
My point being that conservatives are concerned about limiting the role and influence of the federal government in order to preserve our liberty. That is why they favor limited taxes and limited government programs. That does not mean they don’t believe in charity and it doesn’t mean they are not generous. In fact…
Conservatives are the most generous of all.
When it comes to charity we are a generous nation. In addition to what Government provides via our tax dollars 75% of Americans give money to charity and 50% donate time to charity. In those terms Conservatives are the most generous of all.
According to Professor Brooks research conservatives and especially religious conservatives are much more likely to put their money where their mouth is and contribute more money and time to both secular and religious charities.
In Who Really Cares, he demonstrates conclusively that conservatives really are compassionate-far more compassionate than their liberal foes. Strong families, church attendance, earned income (as opposed to state-subsidized income), and the belief that individuals, not government, offer the best solution to social ills-all of these factors determine how likely one is to give. Charity matters–not just to the givers and to the recipients, but to the nation as a whole.
Some might argue that Government spending is charity. I think the IRS would beg to differ. Taxes are not voluntary and do not constitute charitable giving by individuals. Regardless of the necessity, intent, or purpose of taxes they are a redistrtibution of wealth when spent on social services.
It isn’t just that conservatives are more likely to donate to charity but on average a conservative family gives 30% more than a liberal family and what is more on average liberal household income is 6% higher that a conservative household.
This is an interesting factoid:
If liberals and moderates gave blood at the same rate as conservatives, the blood supply in the United States would jump by about 45 percent.
Residents of the top 5 red states were twice as likely to volunteer to help the poor than the botton 5 red states. The more red the state the more volunteers for charitable causes (remember both secular and religious).
The average percentage of household income donated to charity in each state tracked closely with the percentage of the popular vote it gave to Mr. Bush.
In other words. The redder the state the more money they give to charity.
What is more is that the more money conservatives make the more they give to charities who provide all kinds of services to those not as fortunate. Let them keep more of their tax dollars and the more they will give to charity.
There is one State that is an exception to all of this. Maryland. Maryland votes blue but is as generous as the red states. I wonder what he would have learned about Maryland if he had looked at this data down to the county level. Would Maryland’s red counties and blue counties follow the same trends?
So are we a bunch of uncaring republicans or are liberals … never mind.
Is the Professor’s study conclusive evidence that conservatives back up their belief in personal responsibility and limited government with donations of time and money? It would seem so.