Thursday, November 30, 2006

How Generous are Americans?

John Stossel examines Americans, charity, and a book that is getting a lot of attention:

After the Asian Tsunami two years ago, the U.S. government pledged $900 million to tsunami relief. American individuals donated $2 billion -- three times what government gave -- in food, clothing, and cash. Private charities could barely keep up with the donations.

Americans' preference for voluntary contributions over forced giving through government is one way in which Americans differ from other people. (Don't think it's forced? See what happens if you don't pay your taxes.)

Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks's new book, "Who Really Cares", points out that Americans give more than the citizens of any other country. Individually, Americans give seven times more money than people in Germany and 14 times more than Italians give. We also volunteer more.

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