A wise government will therefore enact policies that clear the way for citizens to act generously and will refrain from placing obstacles in the way of that generosity. It sends exactly the wrong message, for example, when politicians advocate raising tax rates and reducing tax deductions for charitable donations. Such changes naturally discourage donations and leave the most giving donors with less money to share. American generosity, far from being increased, is diminished.
That generosity, after all, takes many forms -- volunteering your time at a soup kitchen, buying a homeless man a sandwich when you see him outside a store. Not all of it is registered in the total giving of the country, but all of it helps. And not all forms of charity require a monetary transaction -- some, such as organ donations, are simply generous acts of selflessness.
Americans are also the most blessed people in all history. Could these two facts somehow be related? Are we blessed because we are generous? All we can say for sure is that the generosity of ordinary Americans benefits them, their neighbors and the world.
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year,” Scrooge vows after his conversion. It’s a pledge we would all do well to take at this blessed time of year.