Bigger Government – Higher Taxes: A Liberals Charity

For a long time now we’ve know that religious belief, political affiliation and charity correlate.  Certainly correlation isn’t causation but it does provide for interesting conversations.  Which brings me this story:

BOSTON — A new study on the generosity of Americans suggests that states with the least religious residents are also the stingiest about giving money to charity.

Like I said, this is well known and not surprising.  I would like to say that freedom loving individuals intuitively know that we need to care for our neighbors, but that legalized theft is not the way to do it.  However, I don’t think most people think it through like that.

But it would be fin to try and explain this:

The study released Monday by the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that residents in states where religious participation is higher than the rest of the nation, particularly in the South, gave the greatest percentage of their discretionary income to charity.

The Northeast, with lower religious participation, was the least generous to charities, with the six New England states filling the last six slots among the 50 states.

The study also found that patterns of charitable giving are colored in political reds and blues.

Of the 10 least generous states, nine voted for Democrat Barack Obama for president in the last election. By contrast, of the 10 most generous states, eight voted for Republican John McCain.

Whatever the reason, I think it has to do with how the brain works.  For example, there are studies that show people who “be green” are then more likely to be rude or less moral; at least for a time.  Scientist feel that by contributing to the health of their plant, that “need” in their mind has been met and they are now free to act less charitable.

In fact, I’ve always felt that liberals aren’t less generous, they simply feel that government is their charity.  I honestly feel that when a liberal lawmaker is successful in voting for someone else to build a school for the poor with someone elses money, they feel the same sense of accomplishment that someone who volunteers for Habit for Humanity and actually swings the hammer that builds the school, or house.

Not surprisingly I’m often called out for this line of “garbage” and am told that I’m simply looking at it through too simply and too bias a lens.  Perhaps.  Tribalism is tough and resentment is an unattractive date.  Which is why I was surprised to see this:

Alan Wolfe, a political science professor at Boston College, said it’s wrong to link a state’s religious makeup with its generosity. People in less religious states are giving in a different way by being more willing to pay higher taxes so the government can equitably distribute superior benefits, Wolfe said. And the distribution is based purely on need, rather than religious affiliation or other variables, said Wolfe, also head of the college’s Boisi Center for Religion and Public Life.

Wolfe said people in less religious states “view the tax money they’re paying not as something that’s forced upon them, but as a recognition that they belong with everyone else, that they’re citizens in the common good. … I think people here believe that when they pay their taxes, they’re being altruistic.

I’ll differ with the good professor a little bit here.  I don’t think it’s the act of PAYING the taxes that causes democrats to be less charitable than others, I think it’s the act of VOTING for more spending that causes liberals to be less charitable.

No one likes to pay taxes and even democrats avoid it when they can.

9 responses to “Bigger Government – Higher Taxes: A Liberals Charity

  1. Will have more to say about this post later, but in the meantime, why’d you leave out this nugget?

    “People who earn between $50,000 and $75,000 annually give a higher percentage of their income to charity (7.6 percent) than those who make $100,000 or more (4.2 percent).”

    • People who earn between $50,000 and $75,000 annually give a higher percentage of their income to charity (7.6 percent) than those who make $100,000 or more (4.2 percent)

      There are more middle class folks than there are wealthy folks like Biden. 😉

  2. I don’t think that politics is a judgment on voters’ souls; I think it’s voters’ judgment as to whose policies they prefer.

    So even taking this study’s conclusions in the light most favorable to your argument (we can’t take as a given from this study that, say, Utah charities helping the poor are overflowing with cash; plus, all the low-charity states cited have a smaller percentage in poverty than all of the high-charity states, except that Utah is a bit ahead of Maine & RI), I don’t see its relevance to any given election or policy debate.

    Also, taxation isn’t “theft”. It’s the price we pay for civilization. We happen to be paying less in state, federal, and local taxes than we have in over half a century, and less than every other OECD country but Australia.

    • I don’t think that politics is a judgment on voters’ souls

      Nah, me either.

      all the low-charity states cited have a smaller percentage in poverty than all of the high-charity states, except that Utah is a bit ahead of Maine & RI), I don’t see its relevance to any given election or policy debate.

      Well, all the low-charity states are in the North East. This section of the nation has traditionally been more well off than the southern states due to the nature of their economies. In the north it’s been industrial, in the south more agrarian. Happily the south is catching up, slowly, but progress….

      Also, taxation isn’t “theft”. It’s the price we pay for civilization.

      That’s a matter of where you are politically. I will agree that a certain amount of taxes are required to fund things like cops, teachers even roads and bridges. However, we’ve long since passed taxation for the reasonable function of government.

      We happen to be paying less in state, federal, and local taxes than we have in over half a century,

      Well, if true, we’re winning half the battle. Now for reducing spending.

      • What? Historical causes for different outcomes? Your usual go-to move is to attribute different levels of achievement among groups of Americans to genetics and the Government’s perfidy. Why so much compassion and justification for the looters and moochers of the South?

        However, we’ve long since passed taxation for the reasonable function of government.

        Could you spell that out? We already tax and spend less than Germany, and less than Scandinavia. Which countries in which time periods do you think we should be emulating? Why?

        • Your usual go-to move is to attribute different levels of achievement among groups of Americans to genetics and the Government’s perfidy.

          Genetics? I don’t think that.

          Since I’ve started posting on The Bell Curve and had that conversation with you some time back, I’ve done a little more reading. I think it might be important to point out the difference between genetics and heritability.

          I think – could be wrong – that genetics is that code that tells our bodies to build 10 fingers and toes, one heart but two ears. Heritability is that thing that says, generally, tall people have tall kids. Blond-haired folks have blonder haired kids. All with the usual acknowledgement that blond haired dudes may have genes speaking to red hair and all.

          As for the government’s deception – I don’t think it’s a conscious thing. I mean, I really think that virtually all liberal thinking folks mean to do well by the programs they initiate. That those programs don’t deliver is a failure of an ever bigger and bigger government.

          Before I get to your question, one for you – If you accept that various levels of government have different powers [you DO, right?] what things do you feel a local government SHOULD do that a federal government SHOULDN’T do?

          We already tax and spend less than Germany, and less than Scandinavia.

          I don’t accept that Germany and Scandinavia are Best in Class.

          Which countries in which time periods do you think we should be emulating?

          I don’t think that we should look to one country and emulate it exclusively. For example, I think it’s good policy to peek at Singapore and Hong Kong for some things and to other countries like Chile for retirement reform.

  3. I think we should follow Germany . We should have a common currency with Mexico and Canada and then rig the value so that we beggar our neighbors, lend them the money to buy our exports, and then complain what a bunch of deadbeats they are .

    • We should have a common currency with Mexico and Canada and then rig the value so that we beggar our neighbors, lend them the money to buy our exports, and then complain what a bunch of deadbeats they are .

      Good point. I hardly suspect that Germany is pleased with the current situation.
      Not to mention that Germany is close to entering recession.

  4. Pino ,

    Thank you for following my logic . There are many on certain boards who praise Germany and yet are incredibly ignorant as to why Germany is really the leading economy in the EU . For example, I doubt that many on the left know that Germany raised it’s retirement age to 67 in 2007 . How un progressive of them . Incidentally they have done much better than their EU partners since then, who have much lower retirement ages .

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