Here’s a chronic story (h/t The Nonprofit Quarterly), about how the United States is the most generous nation on earth. This annual survey measures how often people donate money to charity, how often they volunteer and how often they help strangers in need—the distinction between #1 and #3 being a little vague.
While the Nonprofiteer salutes all the donors among us, she feels constrained to point out that the United States leaves to private charity a whole range of activities provided elsewhere by the government. Are the citizens of France really less giving, or are they just willing to give free public higher education through their taxes rather than depend on the kindness of strangers? Are the Swedes, who provide paid parenthood leave while Americans think they’re generous to provide unpaid leave, really stingier than we are? And do the English really turn their backs on the needy, or do they instead provide health care for everyone?
The Nonprofiteer is proud to be an American, but she prefers to be proud of the things we really do well rather than the things we do to compensate for what we do poorly, namely, supply adequate social services to all our citizens.