95% of Americans in Favor of Increasing Other People’s Charitable Giving

Quick quiz: what political types are more likely to donate to charity – lefty liberals or crochety conservatives? The Chronicle of Philanthropy has an interesting article on the answer:

At the outset of his research, [economist Arthur] Brooks had assumed that those who favor a large role for government would be most likely to give to charity. But in fact, the opposite is true.

Several times throughout the book, Mr. Brooks quotes Mr. Nader, the political activist, who said during his 2000 presidential campaign: “A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity.”

Mr. Brooks calls it a “bitter irony” that those favoring income redistribution are not doing much redistributing from their own bank accounts — and he blames liberal leaders like Mr. Nader for letting liberals off the hook.

“In essence, for many Americans, political opinions are a substitute for personal checks,” Mr. Brooks writes.

Seems like a rational choice, after all. Why spend your own money when you can support policies and elect politicians who will spend everyone else’s instead?