Thursday, April 7, 2011

Judgment Day

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/273664 claims that "The poorest households in the United States gave on average 4.3 percent of their income while the richest fifth gave just 2.1 percent of their income."

And 
http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2682730&page=1 claims that the conservative, poor, and religious give the most. 

As usually, the rich don't come off smelling like a rose. Is it true that they don't give their fair share? What about the progressive tax system? David Friedman, in a recent post, claimed that Adam Smith didn't support that. Can we think of the progressive tax as a means for getting the rich to pay their fair share. Or, do we believe the studies that said when taxes were less the rich were more philanthropic?

There are many types of giving. One is putting a few dollars in a passed basket at church. Another is providing a great education for your children or littering the world with fine art. That gives to society. In the end, I think we are short-sided when we try to make judgments. And here's a quote from the Talmud that I agree with wholeheartedly (well, depending on your interpretation): "A person will be called to account on Judgment Day* for every permissible thing he might have enjoyed but did not.”

*—In some judgment days, the world is destroyed for the sins of mankind. In the Jewish judgment day, the book is opened that has all of our deeds. For those of us who haven't behaved there is an opportunity for repentance and a change of our ways.


1 comment:

Kate Freeman said...

Who is rich and who is poor?

People who have indoor plumbing, a washing machine, and the ability to immediately cut a check and get these items fixed should anything happen to them are rich people.

People who have indoor plumbing, a washing machine, but flip out when one breaks because they don’t know how to come up with the money to make repairs are middle class people.

People with indoor plumbing but without a washing machine are poor.

People without indoor plumbing are really poor.

In my experience as someone who has lived a mostly middle class life. . . When plumbing goes, it’s peers from the church who put the money in the basket that get the poor family’s water going again. . . Not the rich philanthropist who writes a huge check. Not the government with aid programs.