How Much Of What We Make Should We Give Away?
This Sunday’s New York Times magazine had an exceptionally thought provoking article entitled What Should a Billionaire Give – and What Should You? While I have often pondered the limits of my own generosity, this story created a whole new framework for me to think about what I am willing or at least aspire to do.
As you open all those requests for money you get in the final weeks of the year consider this: The United Nations estimates that the total annual global cost of halving hunger and extreme poverty, halting & reversing the spread of aids, and ensuring that all children attend primary school would be less than $300 billion. Peter Singer’s proposal in the New York Times would generate $404 billion dollars from the wealthiest 10% of Americans!
Check out his plan. The article is long but well worth the read. Singer proposes that the more you earn, the more you give away. He suggests that those who earn over $92,000 give away 10% while the richest 0.01%, whose average income is $12.7 million, donate 1/3 of what they make. Hey, who’s going to miss $4.3 million when you’re making that much?
I’m considering stepping up to the plate, but giving away 15% of what I make would take me well beyond the 10% I’ve been working up to!