The Most Generous Nation on Earth
The important part of the story is that charitable giving, despite the huge outpouring of charity after Katrina and the Tsunami relief efforts, that the American people gave about the same amount to charity as they did before those disasters. I would add that they gave despite the fact that gas prices were up and news outlets like the NY Times were decrying the state of our economy (which is roaring along by the way, not that you would know it from news stories). Maybe the times should have done one of their famous human interest type stories where they go out and interview ordinary people to see how something affected them (there is another story there today about the trickle down effects of high gas prices and how it is effecting everyone; funny how they will interview people for that type story but not for a story about charitable giving). I think they would have learned a ton about the American people that would help explain why the Times readership is down and they are having to lay off staff.
They would have probably learned that the American people are compassionate and caring; that no matter how bad they may have it because of poverty or sickness or other circumstances, they are always looking to help other people; that they appreciate just how blessed they are to live in a free country where they have the freedom to earn more money than most people on earth can dream about and want to share their abundance. My dad has been on the board of a charity for years and told me how he went and made a presentation to factory workers, and how they pledged to give over 10% of their already modest income to the charity. While I have not seen any studies on the matter, I would wager that people from all income levels give to charity.
I am extremely grateful to live in America. I am grateful for its freedom, its opportunities, and its commitment to spreading freedom throughout the world. However, what I love most about America are the American people. It is the American people that make America great and it is their compassion and generosity that make it, in the words of Ronald Reagan, the shining city on a hill.