Ok, here's a pop quiz. In the following story, who can spot a problem with the concept of "generosity"?

Are Republicans stingy but principled while Democrats are generous but racist?

"I wouldn't put it quite so starkly," said Stanford University professor Shanto Iyengar. He would prefer to call Democrats "less principled" rather than bigoted, based on his analysis of data collected in a recent online experiment that he conducted with The Washington Post and washingtonpost.com.

As reported in this column a few weeks ago, the study found that people were less likely to give extended aid to black Hurricane Katrina victims than to white ones. The race penalty, on average, totaled about $1,000 per black victim.

As Iyengar and his colleagues subsequently dug deeper into these data, another finding emerged: Republicans consistently gave less aid, and gave over a shorter period of time, to victims regardless of race.

Democrats and independents were far more generous; on average, they gave Katrina victims on average more than $1,500 a month, compared with $1,200 for Republicans, and for 13 months instead of nine.

But for Democrats, race mattered -- and in a disturbing way. Overall, Democrats were willing to give whites about $1,500 more than they chose to give to a black or other minority. (Even with this race penalty, Democrats still were willing to give more to blacks than those principled Republicans.) "Republicans are likely to be more stringent, both in terms of money and time, Iyengar said. "However, their position is 'principled' in the sense that it stems from a strong belief in individualism (as opposed to handouts).

Someone explain to me how it's "generous" to give tax money away? Last time I checked, "generosity" is when you give your own money away, not someone elses'.

(HT: James Taranto

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