John Stossel’s 20/20 special last night – “Cheap in America” – was a great program, as usual for him, and had a wonderful segment comparing charitable giving between Red and Blue states, pitting Salvation Army bell-ringers in San Francisco (in front of a Macy’s) versus Sioux Falls, SD (in front of a Wal-Mart). At the end of the day, the folks in Sioux Falls’ had given twice as much money as Nancy Pelosi’s constituents. More of Stossel on conservative generosity/liberal cheapness here.
Things are always more complex than a blog sound bite and rarely black/white. Clips can be extracted and used to support an arguement. The unsurprising finding of the article was that the poor give a far larger % of their income than to the weathy.
I wish they had chosen a different city than Sioux Falls. Sioux Falls, SD is the headquarters city where all of the bank credit card companies are located. They are located in Sioux Falls because of the Federal law which says that they can charge card interest rate based on the location of their headquarters. Lots of high income people in the area.
Macy's in SF (probably Union Square) has a high percentage of tourist visitors. Walmart in Sioux Falls is frequented by Sioux Falls residents.
From the Stossel's special:
But while the rich do give more in overall dollars, according to the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, people at the lower end of the income scale give almost 30 percent more of their income.
Many researchers told us lower income people give more because they think they are more likely to need charity or know someone who needs charity.
Laurie Tanner is one of those people. She says, "I remember a time when honestly, I couldn't afford a gallon of milk for my son. And I had a good friend that stepped in and helped me, and I've never forgotten that."