Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Scrooged?

There is an interesting read in the NY Times today about charitable giving. According to analysis of federal tax data, working-age Americans who make $50,000 to $100,000 a year are two to six times more generous in the share of their investment assets that they give to charity than those Americans who make more than $10 million.

On average these two groups made charitable gifts equal to 0.4 percent of their assets, while people the same age who made $50,000 to $100,000 gave gifts equal to more than 2.5 percent of their investment assets, six times that of their far wealthier peers.

Doesn’t that warm your trickledown economics-loving heart?

15 Comments:

Anonymous DennisB said...

I'd double check these facts before I believed the story. The NYT has been known to be biased before -- and play fast and loose with facts. They only 'fess up when they're caught. Before believing any mainstream news story, it's good to see where they found their data and how they used it. I'm in the field and can tell you without doubt there is a bias to the left -- so much so that it's worse that even crazy right wingers would have you believe.

1:35 PM  
Blogger V said...

Dennisb-Thanks for the comment, but you're talking to the wrong girl when it comes to media bias.

The NY Times may have some bias in the editorial pages and the topics covered, but it is not worse than "crazy right wingers would have you believe" because they'd have you believe it was written by card carrying commies.

And most of the problems the NY Times has had (that I am aware of) have to do with sources being wrong—not facts skewed to make “liberal” points. What paper would you have me read? The Washington Times? The NY Times may have its weaknesses, but it is still the best newspaper in the country, hands down.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous DennisB said...

Check out the info in this recent study of media bias, reported on in not-so-conservative Media Bistro:
http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/generalities/study_reaffirms_media_bias_assumptions_29643.asp

Believe what you wish. Having worked in a newsroom for over ten years, I can tell you this: We did a survey and found over 80 percent of all reporters were Democrats. You think that POV doesn't seep thru?
I think this is so pervasive you can't see it -- like the fact that people don't seem to care that George Stephanapolous is on ABC news. Imagine if they had hired Karen Hughes - would you feel the same way? Anyway, the Times is, in fact biased -- in what it leaves out, in the sources it chooses and in the agenda it sets.
Check out: www.newsbusters.org.

2:20 PM  
Blogger V said...

Thanks, I have already read it, and I know there is some bias, but look at Fox and 95 percent of talk radio. I think it's impossible to have a journalist be without some POV, but to say the NYT is worse than anyone else is a little absurd.

When I studied media bias in college, it appeared to me that the problem was more in the point of view, which was generally more sympathetic to your “average man.” This perspective means that stories are focus on more “liberal” issues like health care, environment, death penalty, etc. While focusing on those stories may seem like a bias, it is more reflective of what people are concerned about.

2:44 PM  
Blogger V said...

One other point on the media study, it bases its biases on 1) how congress voted and 2) who is quoted / cited in articles

First, ranking "liberal" votes vs. "conservative" is very hard because rarely is one vote just for one issue. You aren't just voting on tax cuts, you vote on hundreds of issue that are actually there as more liberal/conservative to make the legislation easier for the other party to swallow.

And, because a newspaper quotes a source does not mean it is biased. Quoting NAACP when there is a story about AA males dropping out of college means nothing--just as quoting someone from the AFT when discussing teachers also doesn't mean bias as unions represent millions of teachers.

I would suggest you take your own advice and double check this media bias study :)

3:00 PM  
Blogger A Unique Alias said...

"The I.R.S. data was analyzed by the NewTithing Group, a San Francisco-based philanthropic research organization that since 1998 has been encouraging the most prosperous Americans to give more"

Translation:

"According to a study performed by a group trying to prove something, the group is right."

3:43 PM  
Blogger jessamyn said...

haha i love the movie scrodged

4:03 PM  
Blogger V said...

AUA: That's funny :) I am sure you're right--ah, agendas, but data is data and it is interesting...

Jessa: Word, I'd watch Bill Murray eat a sandwich and love every second!

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Eric W said...

I think this article would be more interesting if the sample size for +$10 million group wasn't so small. 285 people with one or two people giving nearly nothing to charitable causes can totally scew the percentages. And I bet that doesn't even include foundations like the Gates Foundation where Bill Gates assuredly does most of his giving.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Eric W said...

...and double-checking the article made me realize that you misquoted it. The article is really speaking about age-based giving as it relates to wealth. Your percentages were based strictly on people 35 and under.

If you look at the actual report, ALL persons making $50k - $100k gave ~1.42% of their assets, while the +$10 mil group gave at a 4.98% rate. Yes, we young people can be stingy with our newfound money.

4:59 PM  
Blogger V said...

Eric W: I didn't misquote it, I copied and pasted the first and third graphs (check it out).

And, my impression was that they used all available data from +10 million group.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous eric w said...

You did misinterpret it though. Granted, the whole article is very poorly written, but the second paragraph is referring to the age groups of under 35. My previously quoted statistics are the correct ones for the overall giving of people in those levels.

I don't buy the liberal bias argument either, but it's obvious that this article presented the facts in such manner to create a certain viewpoint, right or wrong.

9:31 PM  
Blogger V said...

EW: Fair enough, I just thought it was interesting considering most people have the perception that the rich give more than the upper middle / middle.

9:20 AM  
Anonymous DennyB said...

One more thing: http://www.timeswatch.org

HAve a nice trip home! In (somewhat unrelated) defense of that article I will say this: The only time I have ever been totally stiffed on a freelance assignment was from a multi-millionaire!

9:48 AM  
Blogger V said...

Thanks, dennyb.

12:20 PM  

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