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Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Most Generous Nation In The World

"Laws made by common consent must not be trampled on by individuals." — George Washington

Americans: the most generous people in the world. In this season of giving, that’s no idle gloat.

According to a new study, the United States tops a massive global charity survey, rising from fifth place in 2010.

A recent article in the Washington Post points out that according to the British based Charities Aid Foundation the United States ranks at the top of the list when it comes to charitable giving:

“The “World Giving Index,” based on 150,000 interviews with citizens of 153 nations, ranks the U.S. highest on a scale that weighed monetary donations, volunteer work, and willingness to help out a stranger.

“In spite of economic hardships and uncertainty in the future, the American spirit is caring and strong, as these survey findings clearly show,” said David Venne, interim CEO of CAFAmerica, the Virginia-based charities consultant that released the results of the index.

Ireland placed second, followed by Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Canada, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Laos.

At the bottom of the list: China, Russia and India.

The survey relied on data from the Gallup polling organization, and asked whether people had donated money (two-thirds of Americans), volunteered their time (43 percent) or helped a stranger in the preceding month (73 percent).

The survey’s authors noted that charitable behavior is not correlated with wealth. Of the 20 countries that the World Bank ranks richest by gross domestic product, only five made it into the top 20 of the index.”

It’s amazing that Sri Lanka, a country I have spent some time in, ranks above China, Russia and India in charitable giving. Sri Lanka is a poor country, yet the people of that beleaguered nation still can find it their hearts to give to others while the big dog in Asia, China, ranks last.

George Will writes in Political that in 2006, Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, published "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism." The surprise is that liberals are markedly less charitable than conservatives.

Brooks, an Independent, demonstrates a correlation between charitable behavior and "the values that lie beneath" liberal and conservative labels. Two influences on charitable behavior are religion and attitudes about the proper role of government. He states:

“If many conservatives are liberals who have been mugged by reality, Brooks, a registered independent, is, as a reviewer of his book said, a social scientist who has been mugged by data. They include these findings:

  • · Although liberal families' incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).
  • · Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.
  • · Residents of the states that voted for John Kerry in 2004 gave smaller percentages of their incomes to charity than did residents of states that voted for George Bush.
  • · Bush carried 24 of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average.
  • · In the 10 reddest states, in which Bush got more than 60 percent majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40 percent, donated just 1.9 percent.
  • · People who reject the idea that "government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality" give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.”

A recent example of this is what happened in the Central Valley of California when some loon stole all of the toys the night before they were to be distributed to the children of Sanger, California.

It happened after a real life Grinch stole dozens of collection boxes filled with Christmas gifts donated to needy children.

The toy drive went on as planned after an outpouring of support from the Valley community, including hundreds of dollars from just one donor.

Around 2,000 toys were handed out to kids Saturday at the Sanger Community Center.

Pastor Paul Zavala of Destiny Church in Sanger said, “About 4 or 5 o’clock, everything broke loose. People started coming in, they started donating toys, little kids started breaking their piggy banks in front of me and donating money. They were bringing zip lock bags of money. People bring toys from under their tree, taking the wrapping off and bringing the toys. I could not fathom… you can’t imagine the lines would be so long.”

The Marines, Sanger’s mayor and even Wal-Mart got involved as well with the community effort.

The families receiving the gifts also got a hot meal and a bag of groceries to take home along with the toys.

This effort was started by conservative radio talker Inga Barks extended her three hour afternoon show to promote an emergency effort to replace the stolen toys. Within hours people began showing up at the toy distribution center in response to Barks’ pleas. The manager of the local Wal-Mart announced on Bark’s show he would extend the employee discount to anyone buying toys for the drive and he bought up the store’s entire stock of children’s bicycles for the drive.

Kern County is area of California that is a very conservative part of a very blue state. The people are farmers, ranchers, and oil workers. Their annual income pales when compared to Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Orange County yet they are willing to give to those they believe to be less fortunate than themselves. This is just another example of how Christian conservatives respond to the needs of their community while the rich and spoiled libs, like the OWS crowd, protest and demand someone else pay for the good works that will make them feel good.

Don’t forget to drop a sawbuck into that red kettle the next time you pass one in front of a store that allows them.

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