Paul Begala Extols Liberal Generosity on Thanksgiving Despite Conservatives Giving Far More to Charity

The hypocrisy of liberal media members knows no bounds - even on Thanksgiving.

On Thursday, CNN contributor Paul Begala wrote a piece for the Huffington Post extolling the "quintessentially liberal virtue" of generosity despite conservatives giving far more to charity:

I am grateful for the liberal generosity of the poor and working people. [...]

Turns out that poor people, like the widow in Christ's parable, give a larger percentage of their income to charity than the rich. As Judith Warner wrote in the New York Times Magazine in August:

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 is remarkable. And it is important to remember the liberal generosity of most Americans, especially when we are confronted with such hateful examples of the worst in us: Like the ugly image of Tea-Party activists hurling dollar bills and invective at a man with Parkinson's Disease who was calling for health-care reform. Or when Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck mocked a woman who was forced to wear her dead sister's dentures because she couldn't afford proper dental care. Or the conservative Republican Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina who compared poor people to "stray animals" who should not be fed. "You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce... "

Those conservatives are the outliers. Most Americans give and give liberally.

Actually, it's liberals that are the outliers, for conservatives give far more money to charity as a percentage of their income than their left-leaning brethren. As Beliefnet.com reported in April 2008:

In his book, Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservativism (Basic Books, 2006), [Arthur] Brooks discovered that approximately equal percentages of liberals and conservatives give to private charitable causes. However, conservatives gave about 30 percent more money per year to private charitable causes, even though his study found liberal families earned an average of 6 percent more per year in income than did conservative families. This greater generosity among conservative families proved to be true in Brooks' research for every income group, "from poor to middle class to rich."

This "giving gap" also extended beyond money to time donated to charitable causes, as well. Brooks also discovered that in 2002, conservative Americans were much more likely to donate blood each year than liberals and to do so more often within a year. Brooks found "if liberals and moderates gave blood at the same rate as conservatives, the blood supply in the United States would jump by about 45 percent."

When Brooks compared his findings to IRS data on the percentage of household income given away, he found that "red" states in the 2004 election were more charitable than "blue" states. Brooks found that 24 of the 25 states that were above average in family charitable giving voted for Bush in 2004, and 17 of the 25 states below average in giving voted for Kerry. Brooks concluded, "The electoral map and the charity map are remarkably similar."

Indeed. As the Catalogue for Philanthropy consistently finds, red states regularly top the "generosity index" meaning that they give more as a percentage of income than blue states.

With this in mind, Begala's contention that generosity is quintessentially a liberal virtue is quintessentially nonsense, for if all Americans gave as sparingly as liberals, charities would have far less money, and those in need would be having a far less happy Thanksgiving.

Nice try, Paul.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.