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Maps and Figures

"Hitler or Coulter?" Quiz
Map1 - Teen Pregnancy
Map2 - Incarceration
Map3 - Homicide Rates
Map4 - Drop-out Rates
Map5 - Bankruptcy Rates
Map6 - Driving Distances
Map7 - Energy Use
Map8 - Gonorrhea!
Map9 - Tax Burden
Map10 - State GDP
Map11 - DHS funding
Map12 - Adult Illiteracy.
Map13 - Abortion Bans:
Map14 - ER Quality
Map15 - Hospital Quality
Map16 - Coal Burners
Map 17 - Infant Mortality
Map 18 - Toxic Waste
Map 19 - Obesity
Map 20 - Poverty
Map 21 - Occupational safety
Map 22 - Traffic deaths
Map 23 - Divorce
Figure 1 - Wages vs Right to work
Figure 2 - Unemployment vs Right to work
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Monday, January 16, 2006

I hate the WSJ editorial page soooo much
The WSJ editorial page, as I've mentioned before, is a lot like a zoo. You visit it, and you just wonder where the hell did they find these people. If ideas were like animals the WSJ would be a collection of zebras, red pandas and capybaras! Holy crap.

Except unlike a zoo, you hate the animals because they represent all that is wrong with the world.

Anyway, today's WSJ has a bizarre Op-Ed entitled, "Bleeding Hearts" which asserts that it is incorrect to equate a rejection of government spending on the poor with a lack of compassion. The argument? People who support government spending on the poor give less blood. I shit you not:

Once again, it is those opposed to government aid. These supposedly uncompassionate folks are 25% of the population, but donate more than 30% of the blood each year. Meanwhile, supporters of government spending to the poor are 28% of the population, but donate just 20% of the blood. If the whole population gave blood like opponents of social spending do, the blood supply would increase by more than a quarter. But if everyone in the population gave like government aid advocates, the supply would drop by about 30%.

In the wake of disasters like Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina, and in the midst of ongoing needs in our communities, this gap in blood donations is more than an intellectual curiosity: It can mean the difference between life and death. It also represents the livelihood of important charities serving our nation's needy, such as the Red Cross, which receives nearly 70% of its revenues from blood sales.

Holy fucking shit. Where do they find these people? I mean, seriously, this passes for argument?

**Update** I took down the map until I can find a better data set to work with, I misread the OMB report to represent all charitable giving however it did not include individuals giving to charity.

This brings up three issues. One is my total and complete error in reading the report, sorry. The second is that the data currently being represented by the "Generosity Index" is over-represents giving to churches and only represents individuals who itemize, and is a highly flawed method. The OMB data is still interesting because it shows while evaluation of itemization biases the red states, focusing on giving by estates and trusts biases towards the blue states. It is possible that Blue staters are only over-donating charity in the form of taxes and when they die. For now reflect on this map.

There is a solution, but it requires me paying 35 bucks and waiting until I receive a report on charities in the mail. I will accept that as a fine for my error.


Mike the Mad Biologist said...

Great post. Could you provide the specific URL to the Irons report? I'm having a hard time finding it. Thanks.

1:08 PM, January 16, 2006

Another Anonymous Poster said...


One slight nit with this map. How does this compare to per-capita income state by state? It might be instructive to quantitate charitable giving as a percent of total per capita income, and see if the percentages change.

One could argue that the blue states are richer, so the residents can afford to give more.

1:18 PM, January 16, 2006

Macht said...

I think what you are looking for is the 2005 Generosity Index. The results are much different than RevDr's results (for good reason).

1:48 PM, January 16, 2006

Anonymous said...

Macht: Unfortunately the generosity index has a number of known failings:

2:08 PM, January 16, 2006

Rev. Dr. said...

I reject their analysis.

First of all, they only consider individual charitable donations that are tax deductible and itemized by individals and importantly, excluding trusts. If the Kennedies decide to set up a 250 million dollar trust for cute puppies, that wouldn't count, that's not fair.

Second, what this reflects is church attendence, not charity. Tithing is creating the high baseline in states like Mississippi where even lower income individuals will submit 3-10% of their income a year to their church. I do not consider giving money to churches for the "building fund" to be a real charity as it only helps the church, despite being tax deductible.

Lastly, take a look at the raw data and you'll notice that states with higher rates of itemization show up lower on the scale. I'm not exactly sure how to interpret this, but my impression is that those who do itemize in Missippi are probably giving up a significant part of their income creating a sampling-error problem. This is worsened because they are extrapolating those who do itemize to the entire population. Don't agree with that at all. I could be wrong about their methods, but that's how I interpret them.

I like the OMB study (Mike here is the URL)
because they do the exact reverse. They start with the charities and their tax returns and determine where the money came from. This has two advantages. One, it doesn't rely on the population itemizing everything thereby eliminating reporting error and those who don't obsess about tax deductions. Two, it starts with an accurate assessment of the total charity from a state, including foundations set up by estates and trusts (the whole point of the study after all was to extrapolate the damage from the estate tax).

I'll stand by OMB's analysis. It is by far a more complete view of the distribution of giving and doesn't exclude all sorts of charitable donations like estates, annonymous giving, and those of us who could give less of a damn about saving 200 bucks in taxes and spending hours itemizing.

2:20 PM, January 16, 2006

Rev. Dr. said...

Wow, Sam Johnson was able to dismiss their study for a whole host of other good reasons I didn't bother to think of. I think the rejection of the generosity index is a good idea. Stick to the OMB, it's more complete.

2:23 PM, January 16, 2006

Anonymous said...

The Generosity Index is a joke; it's stacked in such a way it makes it almost impossible for the wealthier - and incidentally, blue - states to do well.

That is a very good reason for significant difference in results.

2:28 PM, January 16, 2006

Rev. Dr. said...

As far as normalizing the data to Average gross income I don't think it would change things significantly.

Note Massachusets at the high end with $132 per capita, and many of the red states with donations of $30 or less. Massachussetts only has about twice the average income of the poorest states, thus not explaining why they have four times as much money donated.

3:23 PM, January 16, 2006

alkali said...

Isn't the OMB Watch report limited to giving by bequests (i.e., charitable donations in wills)?

3:35 PM, January 16, 2006

Rev. Dr. said...

The report mentions it sourcing as IRS form 990 which from my understanding is the standard form which charities submit to claim their income with the federal government each year. I didn't read that as meaning only money that comes from when people die. If I'm incorrect I'll try to find a better data set and see if the red/blue divide is maintained.

It is difficult as there is not a whole lot of data on charities and methods like that of the "Generosity Index" are deeply flawed. I'll start tinkering with data from the NCCS and see what I can come up with.

4:13 PM, January 16, 2006


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