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The Charitable-Giving Divide

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by Patters, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/magazine/22FOB-wwln-t.html

    ... For decades, surveys have shown that upper-income Americans don’t give away as much of their money as they might and are particularly undistinguished as givers when compared with the poor, who are strikingly generous. A number of other studies have shown that lower-income Americans give proportionally more of their incomes to charity than do upper-income Americans. In 2001, Independent Sector, a nonprofit organization focused on charitable giving, found that households earning less than $25,000 a year gave away an average of 4.2 percent of their incomes; those with earnings of more than $75,000 gave away 2.7 percent.

    This situation is perplexing if you think of it in terms of dollars and cents: the poor, you would assume, don’t have resources to spare, and the personal sacrifice of giving is disproportionately large.
     
  2. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    In matters of finance, it's very easy to fool the easily misled by discussing things in terms of percentages as opposed to actual dollars and cents (as Patters here has graciously demonstrated to us).

    But, to use your own numbers, if you're running a charity, which would you rather receive: 2.7% of $75,000 or 4.2% of $25,000?
     
  3. chicowalker

    chicowalker Pro Bowl Player

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    I'd like to know more about the study -- I'm not confident the supposed % differences have any statistical significance.
     
  4. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Good topic ... this from my post in 2008:

    ............................
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2010
  5. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    "Bleeding Heart Tightwads"

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/opinion/21kristof.html?_r=2
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2010
  6. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That's a point, of course, and I make a similar one when we discuss the flat tax. (Namely, how is the flat tax fair when it requires the person earning $1 million/year to pay 10x as much in tax as a person earning $100K/year for the same government services? The only fair tax is for everyone to pay the same dollar amount.)

    But, of course the point of this article was about the curious fact that wealthy people, who can afford to give more, on average give less, to which your response is a nonsequitur.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2010
  7. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    This is what I meant about people like you who are obviously easily fooled by numbers. According to your own article, the wealthy do not give less.

    Since you obviously can't handle 3rd grade math, let me answer my own question for you: 2.7% of $75,000 is greater than 4.2% of $25,000. A simple mind cannot understand how that is the case and interprets that as saying "wealthy people ... on average give less."
     
  8. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The point I'm making a more abstract, namely why do the poor give more (relative to their wealth) than the wealthy. It's not merely the percentages, but the amount of sacrifice that poor people are willing to make -- giving money that's not easy to come by in the first place. There seems to be a moral issue involved. That said, you made a very good point that will surely resonate with those who are studying third grade arithmetic.
     
  9. khayos

    khayos In the Starting Line-Up

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    Well, if those people above $75,000 were able to get a full refund (rather than just a "credit") on the 10-15% or more in taxes they're paying above those making $25,000 I'm sure you'd see a difference!
     
  10. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Most very wealthy people get their income from capital gains and on average pay less taxes (in terms of percentages) than working people. In addition, the wealthy are in a better position to capitalize off government spending, which is a very predictable and safe form of investment. The money we give our government in taxes doesn't just go into thin air; a lot of it ends up in the hands of Fortune 500 companies, in which the well-to-do are well invested.
     
  11. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    Making a point, even an abstract one, is perfectly fine. You are entitled to your own opinion but, as the saying goes, you are not entitled to your own facts.

    I also suggest you educate yourself as to how percentages work.
     
  12. khayos

    khayos In the Starting Line-Up

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    You're including the $75,000 to $250,000 brackett however -- the middle class -- which considerable scales down the "over $75,000" group. If you did over $250,000 only, I'm sure you'd see a much different percentage. The 75k to 250k group shares a disproportionate percentage of their income to tax ratio.
     
  13. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I basically agree with you, although the article seems to be that the disparity also exists among the wealthy. Here's one link that supports that:

    http://www.philanthropy.iupui.edu/Research/Giving focused on meeting needs of the poor July 2007.pdf

    The middle class are being squeezed by both sides and the middle class is not united. Some attribute the problem to the lazy poor, others to the greedy rich. In my opinion, we need to recoup some of the losses caused by ill-gotten gains during the the last 10 or so years. We've basically allowed tens of thousands of people who benefited from those who played the system to keep all their gains, and I think that's a main cause of our economic difficulties now.

    But, none of this explains why the wealthy contribute so much less than the poor as a percentage of income. In the study referred to in the article, it seemed to suggest that when wealthy people were made aware of the problems, they were just as generous as the poor. Maybe, we've become a nation where we strive to be insulated from bad news. Out of site out of mind seems to work for a lot of people
     
  14. chicowalker

    chicowalker Pro Bowl Player

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    making over $75k isn't exactly wealthy

    do you know what % of income, on avg, those making under $25k pay in taxes?
     
  15. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I actually responded to that point a moment, but you probably didn't reload the page, namely that the middle class give far less, but the wealthy (those earning above $200k and above $1 million) also give less than the poor.
     
  16. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    It is to a liberal. Raise their taxes! :rofl:
     
  17. chicowalker

    chicowalker Pro Bowl Player

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    Give less %-wise

    I wouldn't be surprised if, as a % of income, charitable giving forms a U-curve as income increases. I could see many people giving some relatively fixed amount to causes that are dear to them, but nit increasing the amount at the same rate that income increases, until income rises to some level where they are comfortable enough financially to start increasing their giving more aggressively.
     
  18. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Hall of Fame Poster

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    #18 Jersey


    No one should care how much others give to charity. The only thing that matters is if I give or not. No one here can judge another's charity, including you Patters.

    For every finger you use to point at others' faults, there are 3 fingers pointing right back at ya! It is not my business, nor is it yours.

    Let's move on to meaningful discussion.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2010
  19. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm not so much judging it, as simply finding it interesting. I think it's reasonable to expect that people would tend to give a larger percentage of their income once they reached some sort of critical mass in terms of personal comfort. While the middle class can be explained because the costs of maintaining middle class life is expensive relative to their resources, the wealthier are harder to explain. A large number of them not only live a high quality of life, but also have substantial assets beyond their disposable income.

    That said, I see nothing wrong with judging another's charitable contributions. Charity is a good thing that should be encouraged and praised. When people give generously to good causes, I think it's appropriate to judge that favorably.
     
  20. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Hall of Fame Poster

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    #18 Jersey

    The "right way" to give of ourselves is to do so and not let others know. We should also expect nothing in return other than the good feeling it gives us.

    I'm sure many give to charity in ways that no one can find out since that's the right way to do it.

    BTW...although you may not think there is nothing wrong with judging someone else's charity, the fact is, it's wrong. When we all get right down to it, all that matters in life is the way we live our personal lives. Not the way others live theirs...but I think you already know this....;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2010

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