The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Donations from America's wealthiest down 60%

One of the justifications repeatedly used for BushCo economic policies has been the curious proposal that tycoons would be much more charitable and benevolent if the government weren't forcing them to do crazy things like pay the same taxes that everyone else does. Consequently, from the inital "Whoopee! Two hundred dollars" tax cuts to faith-based initiatives, and on through the tireless war against the estate tax, the refrain has been the same. "Let the rich keep their money and the hoi polloi will be rewarded-- through job creation and massive increases in charitable giving." And it worked-- in classic voodoo economics fashion.

America's most-generous donors contributed a total of $4.3-billion to charity last year, a sharp drop from 2004, when the top donors gave more than $10-billion, a new Chronicle survey has found. For the first time since 1998, no gifts of $1-billion or more were donated to charitable causes.

The median amount the donors on the list gave in 2005, including pledges, was $32.5-million, meaning that half gave more and half gave less. In 2004, the median was $40.8-million. On this year's list of big donors, higher education received by far the largest share of gifts — 44 — than any other category, followed by 18 gifts to hospitals and medical centers.