When It Comes To Charity, Poor Give Too Much, Get Too Little

One reason rich people stay rich is they don’t go wasting it on silly things such as charity. Likewise, a factor that keeps poor people poor is they give too much of what little they have away.

Hey, don’t yell at me. These are just the findings of a McClatchy Newspapers story. Reporter Frank Greve sifted through data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data and found that the poorest Ameicans — those who make an average of $10,531 — gave the largest percentage of their income (4.3 percent) to charity. Meanwhile, the wealthiest group — which make an average of $158,888 — give only 2.1 percent of what they make.

“The lowest-income fifth (of the population) always give at more than their capacity,” said Virginia Hodgkinson, former vice president for research at Independent Sector, a Washington-based association of major nonprofit agencies. “The next two-fifths give at capacity, and those above that are capable of giving two or three times more than they give.”

Indeed, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest survey of consumer expenditure found that the poorest fifth of America’s households contributed an average of 4.3 percent of their incomes to charitable organizations in 2007. The richest fifth gave at less than half that rate, 2.1 percent.

The figures probably undercount remittances by legal and illegal immigrants to family and friends back home, a multibillion-dollar outlay to which the poor contribute disproportionally.

None of the middle fifths of America’s households, in contrast, gave away as much as 3 percent of their incomes.

“As a rule, people who have money don’t know people in need,” said Tanya Davis, 40, a laid-off security guard and single mother.

You hear that, needy? Just sign up for country club memberships, rub elbows with the moneybags, who will finally have po’ folk as a pals, and everyone wins!

America’s poor are its most generous givers [McClatchy Newspapers, via Arizona Daily Star>/a>]

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