Friday, December 26, 2008

Not Too Late To Make A Difference This Year

That's it. I am sick and fucking tired of wingnut freakazoids getting credit for being "charitable" when all they're really doing is paying protection money to their churches, whose clergy use it to buy cocaine and secret abortions.

When a supposed liberal like Nick Kristof falls for the lie, it's gotten out of hand.

We liberals are personally stingy.

Liberals show tremendous compassion in pushing for generous government spending to help the neediest people at home and abroad. Yet when it comes to individual contributions to charitable causes, liberals are cheapskates.

Arthur Brooks, the author of a book on donors to charity, "Who Really Cares," cites data that households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals. A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals.

Bullshit. Utter, complete, unadulterated bullshit.

Dig down into those studies and you'll find - oops!, sorry, not so much.

Rich people - conservative and liberal - tend to give money to education (private colleges they want to get their kinds into as legacies), museums/arts (fancy new wings named after the donors) and research (more personalized construction.)

Religious people of all persuasions give to their religious organizations, which spend the vast majority of that money on administrative salaries and building maintenance. Doubt it? Drive past Southland Christian Church in Lexington and tell me you think that fancy ten-building campus looks like a charitable organization.

Non-religious, non-rich conservatives don't give jack shit to anybody. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, bitch, and don't whine that you're barefoot!

Non-religious, non-rich liberals, granted, tend not to give much to charity, either, but here's the difference between them and their conservative counterparts: liberals make their contribution by pushing for pro-labor, pro-worker, pro-job, pro-family, pro-health care government policies that help large numbers of people in ways private charity simply cannot.

George H.W. Bush's ridiculous "Thousand Points of Light" was the perfect example. All the charities in the country together could not replace a single government program to help poor people, like even the minimal Food Stamp Program.

And if you think I'm making excuses for myself, here's my own charitable record: I give to what I consider real charities - those who help those who cannot help themselves. Local food banks, homeless shelters, drug rehab for single mothers, family planning, victims of war and disease. I have gradually increased the amount over the years, until last year I gave three percent of my gross income. This year, with so many in need, I jumped it to four percent. Not much, but finally more than the national average.

Don't get me wrong; I do it out of pure selfishness. My favorite part of the holidays is making the list of charities I will donate to, figuring the total amount I will donate, dividing it up among the charities (making sure everybody gets at least a little more than they got last year), and writing out each check. I like to send a holiday card with it, so the organization can tape the card up on the door to show off their donors.

They always send a letter of thanks. Yes, it's required by the IRS, but the local charities almost always add a little hand-written personal note.

It is absolutely the greatest feeling in the world to know that someone in need is getting a meal, a home, medicine because of you.

There aren't enough church recreation centers in the world to match that.

Cross-posted at They Gave Us A Republic ....