Why are we denying the wealthy the joy of giving? Is it time we stop demanding the wealthy pay for everything and finally let them be generous?
It’s a Friday night and everyone in the house has had a long week. The carnage from dinner is all over the kitchen and of course, no one really feels like doing them. My wife is pretty awesome though, so I decide I’ll get up off the couch and be the one to clean up. God knows, my wife deserves it!
I’ve made up my mind and I’m starting to feel good about it. As is often the case when doing something nice for someone else, I feel myself gettig energized. But as I get up and head toward the kitchen, my wife says:
“Hey sweetie, I’m so tired. Do you mind doing the dishes today? Please?”
There’s certainly nothing wrong with that request. She asked nicely. She has had a long week. It’s really the least I could do. Besides, I had already made up my mind to go do them. Yet, all of a sudden, I feel strongly opposed to the notion of doing the dishes.
Surely you have had similar experiences yourself?
So it should be no stretch for you to imagine how this would be the case for other humans too — even the wealthy.
Giving and Gratitude
It feels good to give things to others; having things taken from you does not.
Let me start by saying that I support a progressive tax system. It seems right that people who can afford to pay more for the societal benefits we all enjoy. What I do not agree with is the incessant escalation of the demands we place on high-earners. When they have paid more than most in taxes, how can we still be unsatisfied?
In my personal life, I always find it easier to be generous to those who are grateful. I don’t think it is unreasonable to assume that most people feel the same way. If you are thinking that we won’t get anything from the wealthy if we don’t demand it, take a look here. The US is atop of the list of giving as a percentage of GDP — your worries are unwarranted!
The Joy of Giving
In addition to increasing the resistance to giving — through our lack of gratitude — we are also denying the wealthy the joy of giving. In a society where our biggest holidays revolve around giving gifts, this seems utterly insane. When someone else is opening a present from you on Christmas, is it not a wonderful feeling? Does it not make you want to give more?
What This Means in Practice
So what does this mean in practice? What do I propose?
I think gratitude is a recipe for a better, more fulfilling life in general. In this case, I believe it is also the option that creates the most amount of joy in the world and the most amount of benefit to both sides. The wealthy get more joy; the rest of society gets more money for necessities. We all win.
So maybe it is time to stop complaining and start being grateful. I think that will lead to the best outcomes for all of us — and so much less stress and contention.