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Friday, October 17, 2008


Today's Buggy Topic

At Carpe Diem, the data-driven web-site run by Prof. Mark Perry of the University of Michigan --- a libertarian econblog --- a thread was started by Prof. Perry that noted that the super-rich were largely voting for Obama and the garden-variety rich largely for McCain. 

The super-rich were those worth more than $10 million (no total number given). The garbage-collecting rich counted their wealth between $1 and $10 million.  Oddly, prof bug --- who bought a house in Santa Barbara in 1969, only to see its market-value shoot up 12-fold (in 2000-dollars) --- would have to be considered part of the tiny minority of your run-of-the-mill "millionaires."  No matter.  Note too that the survey, which appeared in today's Wall Street Journal, was very limited in number . . . and obviously not a sample survey drawn from the much larger pool of rich and super-rich. 

The Focus of Buggy Comments Left in the Thread Were Elsewhere

In particular, leaving aside the flaws of the survey --- don't want to be too pedantic, no es verdad? ---prof bug tried to add some in-depth historical perspective on the uncommon, maybe even unique, philanthropic tendencies of the American super-rich and rich compared to their counterparts in Europe and Asia.  Note, before you click on the link, that in the middle part of this decade, per capita charitable donations in the US were about $650, as opposed to 1/13th in the EU . . . though the British came in better, around 1/5th the US level. 

Oh, not to forget.  Some of the difference is due to tax deductions for charity, but those deductions exist in some EU countries.  What's more, the large majority of US taxpayers don't itemize their deductions and simply use the standard deduction that ignores charity.

Click here for the lengthy bugged-out commentary at Carpe Diem.