Real Charity

August 25, 2012

It’s a common narrative in many elections, and this year is no exception. Democrats care about the poor; Republicans do not. Progressives are concerned about those who have less; conservatives only care about the rich. It’s been stated so many times, many have come to believe it.

Then come periodic studies on actual charitable giving – you know, the kind where people actually give their own money instead of relying on the government. Turns out the oppositie may be true.

The latest is a recent report from The Chronicle of Philanthropy showing that those in many “red states” give more as a percentage of their income than in many “blue states.” For example, the eight highest states in their ranking (those that gave the most as a share of income) went for John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. The seven lowest ranking states went for President Obama. See this chart for the details.

This is nothing new. Back in 2004, I wrote a column noting a similar study with similar results. Back then, all of the top 25 states that gave the most in relation to their average incomes all went to George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election, and 19 of the bottom 25 went for John Kerry.

Despite the rhetoric from progressives about “giving back” and the need for spreading the wealth around, it appears they don’t practice it as often in their private lives. That includes some in the current administration.

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State Unemployment Funds in Crisis

May 12, 2010

ProPublica has been keeping track of what it deems a “crisis” in state unemployment insurance funds. Here is chart showing the shape of each state:

As I’ve noted before, in some states federally-sponsored unemployment can now include up to 99 weeks. One point they make is that several states are borrowing money from the federal government (money it doesn’t have) to help pay for their part of unemployment funding. More details on this situation from ProPublica are available here.


Census Fine

March 19, 2010

Here’s a seldom discussed point about the U.S. Census:

… persons who do not respond shall be fined not more than $100. Title 18 U.S.C. Section 3571 and Section 3559, in effect amends Title 13 U.S.C. Section 221 by changing the fine for anyone over 18 years old who refuses or willfully neglects to complete the questionnaire or answer questions posed by census takers from a fine of not more than $100 to not more than $5,000.

Since filling out the form is legally “mandatory,” the government saw the need to back it up with a penalty for not filling it out. The federal government can fine you for not filling out a form that essentially makes it possible for politicians to determine how much money to take from one community or state and give it to another.

The U.S. Constitution calls for an “enumeration” of the individuals living in the country, something the current Census does but goes well beyond. Not only is it used to apportion House seats properly, but it is also used to dole out money to the states and communities.


Government Dependence Getting Popular?

February 12, 2010

According to this recent New York Times story, food stamps are not only becoming popular, but the stigma traditionally associated with them is dwindling. What’s particularly disturbing is that some are touting the program as a means to economic growth.

Here’s one telling quote from the story:

Neighborhood groups recruit clients at churches and grocery stores, with materials that all but proclaim a civic duty to apply — to ‘help New York farmers, grocers, and businesses.’

posted on a similar story last week, where the Secretary of Agriculture was promoting food stamps (now euphemistically called the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” because of the stigma associated with the old name) as a part of the economic recovery. I also addressed the flawed logic in that thinking in the post.

What’s especially worrisome is that not only is dependence on government on the rise, it’s now becoming popular in some circles.