A recently released Chronicle of Philanthropy study shows the relative generosity of Americans, in state-by-state order. Now the initial spin on this, and probably most of the subsequent ones as well, will be the obvious economic angle, because many of the nation’s poorest states are also amongst it’s most generous.
Mississippi will stand out here, it’s among the poorest of the poor in virtually every statistical category, but it’s the second most generous by share of income donated behind only Utah. The mostly Mormon state is in first place, (they contribute 10.6 % in Utah!) in fact, by such a large margin, it’s a real statistical outlier, families out there in the desert are contributing nearly twice as much of their income to charity as the nations average family does, which is still a healthy 5.5%.
I suspect a lot of the other media spins on this study will look at the political and religious implications because an astounding 14 out of the 15 most generous states were reliably Republican states (known as Red states), in recent elections. Since the country’s most religious states also tend to vote Republican, predictably, the most generous states are also the ones that self-identify as both more conservative and religious. I’m sure there will be something to read about that, although I will resist.
Because, I have homer news. The only real news in this blog is that the ONE state among the 15 most generous, state number 10 – which is neither conservative, nor religious, nor disaster prone, that had no good reason to be there really – was of course, Maryland!
Maryland my Maryland! Maryland my Sweet Maryland!
That’s right folks although at 5.7% we were still put to shame by those guys and gals down there in Mississippi (spell that 3 times fast), at 7.2%, but I’m still proud of our performance here in Maryland and I want to point out how statistically significant it is, because we didn’t just give like Red states, we did it while acting like a Blue state in every other way.
We spent recklessly. Not California bad, but still respectable by “balanced budget” state boundaries. Our state pension fund is billions in the red. This shouldn’t really count though because we didn’t find out about this until just recently.
The point is, while worried about our budgets here at home, and at the state level (subconsciously), we still managed to dig deep and give a lot more than New York, the only other Blue state in the top twenty. That’s right, for all their airs, (To mention the wealth disparity, would be vulgar, so I refrain), the best New York could do was an anemic 4.7%. This makes it abundantly clear why the Capital was located down here, not up in NYC.
The Maryland State Legislature, over a period of decades, repeatedly broke an oath with the people and raided the Transportation “Trust” Fund for billions. Now, there are two ways of looking at this, the glass is half-empty kind of guy would say that our roads today, as a result, are either an obstacle course, or a toll road.
The glass is half-full kind of guy would say, we’ve forced millions of cars off the roads we didn’t build — and saved the planet from catastrophic global warming.
I say, that while enduring high road taxes and deteriorating roads, (for decades) Marylanders have remained stubbornly optimistic, and have proved it in the only way that really proves anything; they dug down deep, and out contributed Virginia in charity giving. Either way, through it all, (and there isn’t space here to mention all the scandals we call politics here in Maryland), we Marylanders, by the millions, voted overwhelmingly Democratic, faithfully, and in almost total lockstep.
Except for Ehrlich. No one in Maryland politics is exactly sure how that happened.
It was probably a bagman mix-up. This is purely hypothetical, but I’m thinking the walking around money got hijacked, the machine did a no-show and the dark horse rode a wave of discontent for the day. It didn’t matter though. Politics in Maryland isn’t for the faint of heart. The Democratic Machine in Maryland has staying power.
The Machine woke up the next morning, drunk, ashamed, but determined to rebound by happy hour. Within 6 months of being sworn in, Governor Ehrlich had no real power beyond the four walls of the room he was occupying. But almost nobody mentions those dark days anymore. Almost like it didn’t happen. Maryland politics can be like that, one day you’re here, the next day you’re re-districted, I mean, not.
But don’t let the way we play a little rough at politics in Maryland fool you, we’re a very generous people, and I’m proud of that. We Marylanders are also a sincere people, who care about others, (and the planet of course, and diversity), and this study proves it. I’m thrilled to have evidence of something I’ve long suspected, that somehow Marylanders really are better than other people.
At least we’re better than New Yorker’s, and nothing else matters.