This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

When Prosperity Becomes the Enemy of Charity

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Conservatives are fond of saying our society is sliding in a culture of entitlement.

I agree.

There, I've said it. I've admitted it to myself. Our once-proud nation of individualists and self-starters, of boot-strappers and pioneers, of neighbors and friends, has become a nation of farm animals, waiting to be treated to the next slop of the bucket.

Evidence...Yes, I agree, there needs to be evidence. Without it such a charge should be considered treasonous.

Sadly, the evidence is all too obvious, resting in each failed orchestra and closing art gallery, each struggling museum and -- harsh though it may seem, it is true -- each downsized free clinic and shuttered homeless shelter.

Read TheStreet's Brian O'Connell, Charities Are Already Feeling Dropoff From Fiscal Cliff Uncertainty. In that article, he cites a poll showing 15% of Americans have decided to donate less to charity this year.

More than a third of those said their personal financial situation left them reconsidering their giving levels. A third also singled out rising health-care costs.

True, the incomes of all Americans have suffered mightily. Savings plans were badly impaired by, first, a recession and second, a limping excuse for economic growth. On top of that, the costs of surviving to old age in this grim world have gone up.

Then there's the impending "fiscal cliff" taxation -- again roughly a third of those polled cited this as a reason to give less. The president of the company who commissioned the study offers this quote in O'Connell's article:

. . . with annual charitable giving here in the U.S. still $12 billion below 2007 levels, and no real recovery so far this year, this is not an encouraging sign for nonprofits. . . .

Seems self-evident, doesn't it? Incomes fall, costs and taxes rise...of course, charitable donations take a hit.

But, I submit, it is self-evident because the evil of entitlement has already penetrated to our hearts. Good people have become accustomed to bad ideas, allowing themselves to be led. Laziness passes for freedom.

Let me share a quick story, from the small rural community where I'm originally from, down in the Ohio River Valley. First character: A middle-aged woman, mother of seven kids and wife of a farmer who owns a small sawmill.

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,756.83 -21.32 -0.12%
S&P 500 2,063.73 +2.50 0.12%
NASDAQ 4,752.76 +4.3640 0.09%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs