Tuesday, June 26, 2007

No Surprise

Americans are the most generous people around.


Americans gave nearly $300 billion to charitable causes last year, setting a new record and besting the 2005 total that had been boosted by a surge in aid to victims of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma and the Asian tsunami.
Donors contributed an estimated $295.02 billion in 2006, a 1 percent increase when adjusted for inflation, up from $283.05 billion in 2005. Excluding donations for disaster relief, the total rose 3.2 percent, inflation-adjusted, according to an annual report released Monday by the Giving USA Foundation at Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy.

When this was reported on ABC, the reporter looked like someone had told him gravity had been turned off for a day. "People give money? Of their own accord? The government doesn't have to force them?" Quick. Someone make it stop before his head explodes.

But wait... the unimaginable continues!

"What people find especially interesting about this, and it's true year after year, that such a high percentage comes from individual donors," Giving USA Chairman Richard Jolly said.
Individuals gave a combined 75.6 percent of the total. With bequests, that rises to 83.4 percent.
About 65 percent of households with incomes less than $100,000 give to charity, the report showed.
"It tells you something about American culture that is unlike any other country," said Claire Gaudiani...Americans give twice as much as the next most charitable country, according to a November 2006 comparison done by the Charities Aid Foundation.

We are unique in our desire to help others. And that stems mostly from our strong emphasis on the individual's rights and responsibilities.

But this has to be my favorite part:
Giving historically tracks the health of the overall economy, with the rise amounting to about one-third the rise in the stock market, according to Giving USA. Last year was right on target, with a 3.2 percent rise as stocks rose more than 10 percent on an inflation-adjusted basis.

While I somehow doubt they meant to, ABC just admitted that the economy is very good. If donations track the overall health of the economy, and we just set a record this year...that means the economy is exceptional.

So, quick recap:
Americans aren't greedy.
A majority of those under the $100,000 level donate generously.
The economy is good.
And despite the evilness of Bush's tax cuts, charitable giving is at an all time high.

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