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Bah, Humbug!

Reported by Nancy - December 22, 2004 -

For technical reasons, I don't have a tape of FNL from today (12/22). But rather than let FNL off scot-free, I'm posting about a particularly egregious remark by David Asman from earlier this week (Monday, 12/20).

At 11:54am on Monday 12/20 on FNL, Brigitte Quinn interviewed Renata Rafferty, author of "Don't Just Give It Away", re the pitfalls of charitable giving. This was actually quite interesting & especially appropriate given that this season is the high point of the fund-raising year for charitable groups. Rafferty talked -- & Quinn let her talk, without interruption except to ask relevant questions -- about how to select a legit charity (make sure it's registered), & what you can give besides cash (ranging from clothes & furniture to stocks & real estate).

COMMENT: David Asman just had to spoil it, chiming in that "we DO give it away, we're the most generous country in the world by far". I don't know what statistics Asman is referring to (& of course he didn't cite any data to back up that sweeping statement. But, as a nation, we are definitely NOT the most generous country in the world.

Here's a graph about The Collapse of Foreign Aid showing the share of GNP allotted to foreign aid for the top 15 donor countries & how badly it dropped from 1992 to 2001. The US was #15 of the top 15 countries.

There are clear, east-to-read charts at the Global Issues website, where you might be surprised to see just how badly we do in comparison to much less wealthy countries. The UN Official Development Aid agreed target is 0.7% of GNP. Only Norway, Denmark, Netherlands & Luxembourg meet that target (actually, they exceed it, each giving 0.8% or more of GNP). In 2003, the US gave 0.14% of GNP as foreign aid, which dropped us to #22 on the list of top donor countries.

For raw data, I'm afraid I have to send you to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development or the Statistics Division at the UN. Good luck digging through those mountains! At some point in the past year, I found the following data on one of those two sites:


Economic Aid – Donor (Per Capita)
Sweden $ 191.5
France $ 105.4
Japan $ 71.7
USA $ 24.6

but I seem to have lost the URL for that info & have been unsuccessful in trying to track it down.