It seems like just last week that we were hearing that Rhode Island has the highest poverty rate in New England. This week, WPRI’s Susan Campbell has noticed that we’re also last in New England for charitable giving and last in the country for charitable volunteering:
The Ocean State ranked 49th overall in a comparison of states’ charitable giving that was conducted by personal finance website WalletHub.
The ranking is based on several factors, including volunteer rate and share of income donated. Rhode Island was last on the list for “volunteer and service,” and 31st for “charitable giving.”
If the charitability measure were money only, perhaps we could argue that some adjustment is necessary due to the state’s relative poverty, but the volunteerism points to something more worrisome. As one of our two U.S. Senators, Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, moves to expand a government employee benefit, with emphasis on the characterization that they “serve their communities,” we might suggest that the Ocean State has cultivated a sense of government as the moral center of society.
Such an attitude isn’t healthy economically or morally, inasmuch as government doesn’t create wealth through its actions nor do a good job balancing competing needs and also drains mutual assistance of its moral component by making it compulsory and filtered through the political process.