By Ron Miller
In this year of bailouts and spreading the wealth, one of the more persistent stereotypes about conservatives being dragged out of the mud by liberals is that conservatives are greedy and only want to keep the money they make for themselves. This is why liberals believe in income redistribution by the government through taxation and entitlement programs; if the government doesn’t take it and do the right thing with it, their logic goes, those conservatives certainly won’t. The book, “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism,” by Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks, blows this stereotype to pieces, and no one was more surprised by its findings than the author. Brooks is a behavioral economist, a child of academics who was raised in a liberal home and educated in the liberal arts. He has no political affiliation, declaring “I have no comfortable political home.”
Professor Brooks analyzed ten years of data adjusted for variables such as age, gender, race and income, carefully documenting his methodology so the results could withstand the scrutiny of other researchers. His conclusions? Religious conservatives donate far more money than secular liberals to all sorts of charitable activities irrespective of income. Professor Brooks also points out that liberals give less than conservatives in every conceivable way, including volunteer hours and donated blood. Not only do religious conservatives give more to charity, they give generously - four times as much as others.
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