Study: Red states more disposed to charitable giving than blue states

posted at 2:41 pm on August 20, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

According to a new survey of tax data by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, it appears that red states are much more prone to charitable donations than blue states — interesting, but not at all surprising when you think about it. Politico reports:

The eight states whose residents gave the highest share of their income — Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Idaho, Arkansas and Georgia — all backed McCain in 2008. Utah leads charitable giving, with 10.6 percent of income given.

And the least generous states — Wisconsin, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire — were Obama supporters in the last presidential race. New Hampshire residents gave the least share of their income, the Chronicle stated, with 2.5 percent.

I’m always astounded by the degree to which people often accuse free enterprise of bringing out the worst aspects of humanity, such as ‘greed’ — but human ‘greed’ (which I personally prefer to call rational self-interest) is a fact of life, and only through government can people enforce their ‘greedy’ compulsions through fiat. In a free market, people’s ‘greed’ can only survive when they provide products and services that other people freely want, rather than whatever it is the government deems is good for them.

Looking at it that way, the discrepancy between charitable giving between red states and blue states makes sense. Liberals tend to see the government as a force for good and as the means of distributing fairness, and therefore rely on the government more to do so — while conservatives are more about taking matters into their own hands. As the study’s authors noted, “the reasons for the discrepancies among states, cities, neighborhoods are rooted in part in each area’s political philosophy about the role of government versus charity,” and in turn “religion has a big influence on giving patterns.” People don’t need government to motivate or force them to do good things, and it seems to me that putting your faith in something other than the power of the state can be a much more efficient and powerful motivator.

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When you expect the State to provide, there is no need for the individual to give. That exactly how many on the Left feel.

Its Lefty philosophy 101.

catmman on August 20, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Its always fun to give away somebody else’s money and get credit for it. Ask a congress person.

CW on August 20, 2012 at 6:09 PM

More straw

Dave Rywall on August 20, 2012 at 4:25 PM

So make an actual point.*********

Let me guess on your next post…

Straw man!

gwelf on August 20, 2012 at 4:26 PM


CW on August 20, 2012 at 6:10 PM

While liberal pay their taxes and snobbily believe that’s enough” is a preposterous claim.

Dave Rywall on August 20, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Then where were they during those 5 years that we needed them?

We needed help. We needed people, and those who helped were those people of faith.

And thank you Utah, again.

itsspideyman on August 20, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Ahem. Maybe I’m stating the obvious here, but if you’re in a blue state in which taxes are through the roof, you necessarily have less to give to charity. Plus, if you feel you’ve paid taxes to help the poor, what need is there of giving to the poor? That’s not your job. That’s the government’s job.

UnderstandingisPower on August 20, 2012 at 6:32 PM

Dave Rywall on August 20, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Not really replying to Mr. Drywall, but posting this for other people who might be curious about the LDS church’s charities:

Been LDS my whole life- tithing is voluntary. Why do so many Mormons pay their tithing then? Because we know it goes toward charitable causes and helps our own neighborhoods and people. Nobody forces us to pay. Once Joseph Smith was asked how he was able to get the members of the church to do so many extraordinary things, like build Temples, pay tithing, etc. He said we teach them correct principles and they govern themselves. And it’s true, we do. I have been on the giving end and the receiving end of LDS church charity. The church welfare system is an amazing thing- no one in our church goes hungry. No one.

Kristamatic on August 20, 2012 at 7:05 PM

This is really old news that was confirmed years ago, just look at the blue states to find the rat holes of poverty that swear they are for the people.

mixplix on August 20, 2012 at 7:24 PM

OK, I’ll have to post this again, I guess.

Conservatives need to confront progressives with the reality that theirs is the ideology of Ebenezer Scrooge. Precisely so.

“At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”

“Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.

“Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

“And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”

“They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, ”I wish I could say they were not.”

“The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge.

“Both very busy, sir.”

“Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.”

Scrooge loaths the notion that anyone should accept personal responsibility to redress the misfortunes of those fallen on hard times. He deems the gentlemen soliciting him fools for imposing on men such as himself, for expecting that “it takes a village,” as Hillary rightly observed if we don’t construe “village” as “government” (“village” suggests subsidiarity — thanks Hillary!)

In short, it is statist liberals who personify the spirit of Scrooge, and it is the benevolent gentlemen entreating his personal participation in the lot of the poor that is righteous and good.


Scrooge: “But you were always a good man of business, Jacob.”

Marley: “Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

Not an agency’s business. Not Washington’s business. Not a department’s business. MY business. And Scrooge’s redemption did not consist in becoming a better taxpayer. He already was a good taxpayer — and proud of it:

“I help to support the establishments I have mentioned — they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.”

In his redemption, he didn’t expand the state’s care of those in need. To the contrary, his new-found largess left the state with fewer expenses and less need of tax revenue to fund health care and social services:

(To Cratchet): “I’ll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon.”

What? No queue at a federal office? No waiting for paperwork to go through? Wow, individual citizens are sure more nimble than the State when they’re virtuous.

Richard John Neuhaus wrote a book I’ve never read, whose title says it all: Doing Well and Doing Good: The Challenge to the Christian Capitalist. Scrooge went from only doing well to also doing good. Which is why those of us who oppose statism share Dickens’ wish for everyone of means:

“Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. [anyone’s health plan come with that kind of benefit?] He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.”

God — not the State — bless us, everyone!

rasqual on August 20, 2012 at 8:29 PM

As far as Mormonism is concerned, I take it as a ridiculous Christian heresy. I’ve engaged in thousands of substantive arguments with LDS (ah, the good ol’ usenet days).

Having said that, this Evangelical supports Romney without reservation. His Mormonism isn’t even on my radar screen. And any progressive who wants to take issue with his Mormonism will get an earful from me — not defending Mormonism as such, but assailing whatever moronic impetus the progressive thinks legitimately makes Mormonism in the least an issue in this election.

Bring. ’em. on.

rasqual on August 20, 2012 at 8:57 PM

The image on the homepage for this article reminds me of the irony of my county seat.

The Republican Party is headquartered on Church St.
The Democratic Party is headquartered on High St.

No Joke.

blammm on August 20, 2012 at 10:13 PM

“Put not your trust in princes ….”

njcommuter on August 20, 2012 at 10:41 PM

Wonder what that percentage is when you substract mega-church tithing.

Pablo Honey on August 20, 2012 at 2:52 PM

That’s really the best you’ve got, isn’t it? The truth is, it doesn’t matter a bit where giving goes, when it’s given by CHOICE. You see, Conservatives are, in fact, the more pro-choice group when it comes to everything except baby-murder.

It is nobody’s business, not yours, not mine, not Allahpundit’s, how or where somebody chooses to donate for charitable reasons.

Of course, you’d be happiest if government could make a law that every penny somebody MIGHT have given to a religious organization was instead taken in taxes. Because maybe you’d get a bit more of that cheese, right?

Freelancer on August 20, 2012 at 10:44 PM

If the blue staters think that the government can fix the current ills, why don’t they give money to the government above and beyond their taxes? When they do that, then I’ll buy the argument of this article, but we know they try to minimize their taxes like anyone else and don’t feel the need to give any more.

Christian Conservative on August 20, 2012 at 11:41 PM

I have always said the difference between charity of Dems and Reps is simple. Republicans say “I have done very well I shold give some of my money to Charity to help the less fortunate.” Dems say, “That person needs help so you should give your money to the government to help them.”

huskerthom on August 21, 2012 at 11:40 AM