November 13, 2007

A Tax-Cut Benefit Old Media Will Never Acknowledge, While New Orleans Fiddling Continues

At Townhall, Doug Wilson comments on a fringe benefit of the Bush tax cuts (bolds are mine):

Wealthy Americans are becoming increasingly interested in donating to global causes. Since 1997, the rate of global giving has increased steadily at an average of 12.5 percent each year. According to a recent Financial Times story, JPMorgan Private Bank has “noted a rise of about 20 percent over the last year in client interest in overseas donations, with high-net-worth individuals looking to support education, health and economic expansion projects in developing countries.”

And they aren’t alone. Financial planners and international banks have seen similar upswings. It all begs the question—why?

What does this increased giving tells us about Americans?

First, it speaks to the sort of Main Street conservatism that permeates the culture, despite the popular media-driven assumption that conservative values are old-fashioned or even backward. With increasing frequency, Americans are educating themselves about global issues and working to fix the problems they see in concert with private organizations. In so doing, Americans breed a culture of self-reliance by acknowledging that government cannot fix every problem plaguing the modern world.

Second, it proves once again the power of tax cuts. Federal income tax rates decreased significantly between 2000 and 2007, and this has undoubtedly contributed to the rise in charitable giving. You say no way, but we do know from the experience in Western Europe, that as taxes went up, giving went down. Why? Because the state was going to solve the problem – not individuals. This leads some to contend that tax cuts hurt those in need. The truth is though, that when Americans keep more of their money they will often use it to help those in need—sans any governmental mandate to do so. Moreover, private citizens will consistently make more efficient use of their resources than government would because private giving creates partnerships between individuals and organizations and fosters accountability.

The last bolded sentence explains why you will almost never see Old Media acknowledgment of the overall growth in charitable giving. Oh, they will highlight individual acts of giving that fit their politically correct worldview. But in their world, only governments are up to the monumental tasks at hand.

This graphic from the Wall Street Journal over a year ago carried at this post shows just how wrong that point of view is:


How many Americans have even the foggiest idea of the figures just presented? The federal government has never played a bigger role in a disaster recovery than it has with Katrina, especially in New Orleans. Yet almost no one inside or outside of Louisiana is happy with what has been accomplished.

The Bayou State just received billions more in appropriations last week, much of which is related to Katrina relief ($3 billion in home reconstruction aid, plus $7 billion in water resources development act money). Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu called it her state’s “$12 billion payday.” Why should we think that this boodle will make any more of a difference than the previous money did?

Cross-posted at



  1. IMHO, rebuilding NOLA is like putting rotten milk back in the fridge thinking “ah, maybe it’ll be better tomorrow…”

    Comment by Rose — November 13, 2007 @ 10:56 am

  2. As long as we’re talking about good economic news going unreported, I offer this. Blow it out your ear, Alan Greenspan.

    Comment by The Puddle Pirate — November 13, 2007 @ 3:52 pm

  3. #2, I’ve seen it, and I’m studying the detail.

    Comment by TBlumer — November 13, 2007 @ 4:03 pm

  4. Hi Tom,

    I am curious, are you counting the over $1 trillion propping up the Iraq invasion as ‘disaster spending’? I think you should include it since it is in fact (at least IMNSHO) a misguided attempt to avert the disaster known as Peak Oil by replacing our footprint in Saudia Arabia (already past peak) with another one in Iraq (not even close to peak since that country has been divided by civil war, suppressed by despotism and strangled by UN sanctions instead of pumping).

    Comment by BizzBuzz — November 15, 2007 @ 5:38 am

  5. #4, the real Iraq and Afghan spending number through 2007 is $602 billion (looked it up last night).

    as to the rest, zzzzzzzzzzz…….

    Comment by TBlumer — November 15, 2007 @ 10:47 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.