During our charity symposium, I argued that much of what we do for charity is really self-regarding, and we can know this because these acts are inefficient when evaluated for their help-giving power. For example, it’s bad to give food to a food bank when you can give cash instead.
For this I was gravely informed that I was a monster. (As if I didn’t already know!) One thing I did not know, however, is that apparently President Obama is a monster too. The principles in this NPR story are precisely the same. Even the props are the same. It’s just on the national level rather than the individual. Cash is cold and impersonal, but it still works best.