The US Government: A Charity That Under-Performs?

August 20, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

There’s a debate going on in economics circles about America’s performance as a charity (although things could be worse). The latest entrant into the fray is Bryan Caplan:

  • The US government accepts donations. You can put extra money into the general fund.
  • In 2011 Americans contributed about $3.2 million.
  • Yet Americans give over $300 billion a year to charity. The US commands a vanishingly thin share of the overall charity market.
  • Potential ways to increase the amount of donations that the US receives include:
    • Having the President raise money for the country rather than for their own campaign.
    • Congress acknowledging the most generous donors in an annual ceremony.

It’s an interesting debate that ties into wider political themes. To read more about why libertarians love to discuss this phenomenon, how this does (or doesn’t) tie into the Prisoner’s dilemma, why bringing up Warren Buffet’s contributions are a red herring, where the majority of American donations come from, and other historical details, click here.

Source: Library of Economics and Liberty

Via: Marginal Revolution