For those who remain skeptical that the United States is actually relatively generous, here are the results from the recently released World Giving Index: Proportionally more Americans gave their time and money than citizens of any other country, and they recorded the highest score in the index’s history last year.
But what is perhaps most ironic — and tragic — is the profound gulf in how American aid and charity is seen at home and abroad. Most foreigners think the United States is a heartless cheapskate when it comes to development. In contrast, most Americans think their own country is wildly profligate when it comes to spending on international development. For example, a recent poll found that most Americans estimated about 28 percent of the federal budget goes to spending on foreign aid, when in reality that figure has traditionally hovered around 1 percent.
Perhaps the idea that the United States has been a steady, consistent, and largely responsible development investor is something that isn’t easy for anyone to get their head around. But a Grinch it most assuredly is not.