"CHEAP IN AMERICA"... JOHN STOSSEL REPORTS ON CHARITY -- WHO GIVES, WHO DOESN'T, AND WHY WE ALL SHOULD BE MORE GENEROUS -- ON ABC NEWS' "20/20," FRIDAY, AUG. 24
What determines someone's likelihood of giving? Do liberals give more than conservatives? Do religious people give mostly to their own churches? Do the rich give more than the middle-class and the middle-class more than the poor? And are billionaires cheap? The answers may surprise you, on John Stossel's special, "Cheap in America," airing on "20/20," FRIDAY, AUGUST 24 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (OAD: Nov. 2006)
Stossel wonders about the charitable behavior of the "filthy rich." It turns out that the working poor give away a higher percentage of their salary to charity than the rich. So does that mean the richest Americans are cheap? He asks some of the Forbes 400 billionaires about that, and their reasons for giving -- and not giving -- are different and sometimes unbelievable.
To illustrate what distinguishes those who give from those who don't, "20/20" went to two parts of the county that have two very different populations: Sioux Falls, South Dakota and San Francisco, California. "20/20" asked the Salvation Army to set up buckets at their busiest locations in both cities - Macy's in San Francisco and Walmart in Sioux Falls. Which bucket gets more money? Sioux Falls is rural and religious, and more than half of the population go to church every week. People in San Francisco make much more money, are more liberal, and just 14% of people in San Francisco attend church every week. Liberals are said to care more about helping the poor; so will people in San Francisco give more?
In his book, Who Really Cares, Arthur Brooks finds that the people who donate money are the same ones who will donate blood, volunteer, and even give up their seat on a bus. "The people who give one thing tend to be the people who give everything in America," says Brooks.
Stossel also reports on the joy of giving. Science documents something called the "helpers' high." It's one more reason for people to think about giving more of their money or time to others. "Giving is as good for the giver as it is for the receiver; science says so," says Stephen Post, author of an upcoming book, Why Good Things Happen to Good People. In fact, new science says that giving more can actually improve your health.
"20/20" is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and John Stossel. David Sloan is executive producer.