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« Quotational Therapy: Part 68 -- Reagan's Revolutionary Inaugural Address. | WILLisms.com | Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 251 -- Japan's Economy. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 250 -- Generosity Index.

Having & Giving-

You might have seen some blog posts here and there a month or so back on the Catalogue For Philanthropy's Generosity Index of 2005 (based on 2003 tax return data).

If there were headlines to be had in that index, it was that, overall, "red state" people are more generous with their charitable contributions than "blue state" people.


Not only that, but the fact that "blue state" incomes are generally higher than "red state" incomes, makes the red state generosity even more extraordinary.


Of course, this highlights the disparity between blue and red states with regard to income levels. But a $200,000 Mississippi home transplanted into Connecticut might very well become a $2,000,000 home. Or more. Easily. Meanwhile, a New Jersey home transplanted into Montana might or might not be worth something.

Interestingly, I first came across this information from a liberal emailer. Something along the lines of, "hey, look how poor you reTHUGligans are..."

I never responded, but that email was a clarifying moment. It demonstrated the kind of elitism that is killing the Democratic Party today. Which brings up an interesting parallel.

As a Texas Longhorn fan, I occasionally venture over to TexAgs.com. That's the main message board for Texas A&M Aggies (and I know I have some great Aggie readers, so bear with me). Well, recently, there was a thread (now vanished, for whatever reason) about how average Joes in Texas are now wearing burnt orange Longhorn gear, whereas 10 years ago, they all wore Aggie gear.

Which came first, success, or support?

Likewise, are average Joes merely bandwagon Republicans? Do they support the GOP because of the GOP's success? Or did their support lead to the success? The parallels are not perfect, but that thread on TexAgs.com, which grew into an increasingly condescending "we don't need those idiots, anyway" consensus, was astoundingly similar to the email I received from that lefty troll regarding the Generosity Index.

Here's the bottom line: You aren't better than anyone if you aren't winning, in sports, as well as politics. So the elitism from Aggies and Democrats, all in a similar span of time, cracked me up.

Some additional Generosity Index data you may have missed (underlining emphasis mine):

1) Itemized Charitable Deductions are thought by independent research to capture about 80% of all charitable giving dollars (not volunteering, not large numbers of small gifts).

2) Income tax returns capture a much larger percent of personal income.

3) Most charitable giving is done by affluent taxpayers; itemization is heaviest among that group, with penalties for perjury if they exaggerate, and loss of tax deductions if they under-report.

4) Cost of living and tax burdens kick-in as inhibitors of charitable giving only below the top income levels.

5) Independent corroboration of the Generosity Index is that states' rankings generally follow what is known about religious giving patterns: 7 of the bottom 8 states are Catholic, while 11 of the top 22 states are Southern Baptist (the number would be higher if the category were broadened to include all Evangelical Protestants, such as Mormons. We would expect religious cultures to influence giving significantly, because religious giving accounts for over one-third (35.5% in 2004) of all charitable giving, the largest single field of interest to donors (Education: 13.6%, Health 8.8%).

This last finding was surprising to some degree. And I don't quite know what to make of it. But I would take a few things from it:

1. It proves that President Bush's Armies of Compassion are not some catch phrase. They exist. They give of their time, money, and other resources.
2. It demonstrates, at some level, that lower tax burdens spur greater charitable giving, while higher tax burdens stifle charitable giving. After all, why give to a church or school if the government is already making me do so?
3. It might very well demonstrate grassroots disillusionment with the Catholic Church among Catholics, due to the persistent sex scandals in the headlines.
4. It demonstrates, in yet another way, that there are two very distinct American cultures emerging, one more secular (and European), one more spiritual/religious.



Previous Trivia Tidbit: Agricultural Subsidies.

Posted by Will Franklin · 27 January 2006 09:47 PM


I'm a little confused with the analogy. Back ten years ago or whenever... 15 now, I guess, when "everyone was wearing A&M gear" it was probably due to A&M's success vs. the fairly weak and now defunct SWC.

With Texas winning the NC, it's only natural that more folks will bandwagon towards Texas now. In 2004 and 2005 I saw an inordinate amount of USC shirts.

Success came first, in those cases.

How this equates to charitable giving isn't clear. People will give regardless of who's in power. It's more of function of the person doing the giving. Sure, tax cuts give folks more money to give, if they choose so, but givers will give because that's what they do.

This is all IMO and based on my intuition. I don't have any data to back this up.

Posted by: Hoodlumman at January 30, 2006 11:37 AM