Private American citizens donated almost 15 times more to the developing world than their European counterparts, research reveals this weekend ahead of the G8 summit. Private US donors also handed over far more aid than the federal government in Washington, revealing that America is much more generous to Africa and poor countries than is claimed by the Make Poverty History and Live 8 campaigns.
Church collections, philanthropists and company-giving amounted to $22bn a year, according to a study by the Hudson Institute think-tank, easily more than the $16.3bn in overseas development sent by the US government. American churches, synagogues and mosques alone gave $7.5bn in 2003 - a figure which exceeds the government totals for France ($7.2bn) and Britain ($6.3bn) - according to numbers from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development which deal a blow to those who claim moral superiority over the US on aid.
Carole Adelman, the author of the Hudson Institute report, has discovered that a further $6.2bn a year is donated by independent US organisations, $2.7bn by US companies and $2.3bn by US universities and colleges, mainly through scholarships, to reach an overall private US donations total of $22bn.
In stark contrast, in separate exploratory work for the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), Adelman found that the maximum EU figure was a mere $1.5bn in private sector donations, 14.6 times less than the comparable US figure.
Of course the typical wankers will come back and say that we can afford to give more, that European countries give a larger percentage of their GNP than does the US.
But this model ignores the private donations made possible by the lower tax burden in the US of 31.8%, against the eurozone's 45.6%.
Lee points out:
I think this highlights a fundamental difference between the American and European people. Americans are problem solvers by nature. We are a nation of rugged individualists. Therefore when an American sees someone starving in Africa he opens his wallet, calls an aid organization (often run by religious groups), and makes a donation. When a European sees someone starving in Africa he turns to his government to “do something” about the problem. This attitude is prevalent in so many other areas as well: self defense, health care, use of property, and so on. Americans would rather solve problems on an individual basis, whereas Europeans follow their typical collectivized model and expect the government to solve the problem for them.
Also, note the way that Europeans discount the astonishing levels of private giving on the part of the American people, and only compare the amount of aid pledged by individual governments. “Well, France gives a higher percentage of GDP than the US does.” This is despite the fact that the US is able to give more money than France while giving a smaller percentage of GDP. And now we find that Americans give 15 times more to charities than Europeans, due to (a) their natural generosity, (b) their tendency towards individual solutions, and (c) a tax system which gives them the means to do so. Europeans are so used to looking for government solutions to everything that they have totally forgotten the concept of individual people being able to make a huge difference when they act on their own.