I just attended a lecture by one of my GSIs (graduate student instructors). He talked about a lot of things, but mainly about how EVERYBODY who makes enough money to live comfortably should give a much more substantial percentage of their money to help others.
He mentioned that he estimates that a basic necessity (in this country) is around 20,000 dollars. That's low honetly. But, regardless, he said that anybody who does not make 20,000 dollars should be helped. We should institutionally tax people more in order to help these people.
I can already hear the uproar! I felt the same way until I heard more of his argument. He talked less about the how and more about the why of the issue. Instead of who should receive the money, how we could implement higher taxes, etc..he talked about our moral duty to others. He borught up a lot of good points.
His first example brought up how ~25,000 kids die EVERY DAY from things that are easily preventable, such as diarrheal infections, etc. He said that a 15 cent drink packet could cure this kind of sickness and save lives. He then asked how we can justify spending 3 dollars on a latte when 15 cents would SAVE a life?
Now, I'm usually oppose to bleeding heart liberal mumbo jumbo. Every college student out here loves to get on a soapbox and preach for equality, yap yap yap. But, he really did make a good point. He is not arguing that we should give up the things we enjoy, or even all of our excesses. He just says that if, for example, you make 100,000 a year and live comfortably, then maybe you should be taxed more (taxed being equivalent to charitable donations).
Maybe instead of the ~15,000 you'd be taxed now, you should be taxed ~30,000. Yes, that sucks. But if you think about how your cutting out some things strategically (like trips to starbucks when you can brew your own coffee, or perhaps a cheaper car), then how can you really deny that this argument holds weight?
I'm going to look into ways to help in my own way. I don't think that after what I heard that I could justify inaction. I'm not talking about throwing bottles at Wall Street investors, but rather donating a few dollars to organizations that I look into, or volunteering to help people.
After all, if you're priveleged then it seems that you have a duty to help people who are less privileged. Namely, because nobody chooses to be born to a poor family, or born to a drug addicted mother, or to be born into a life in which you HAVE to work and can't go to school.
Obviously my point of view lies in the message, but I'd like to hear what you guys think. Not so much about the problems of institutionalizing taxation at a higher rate, but instead of the moral duty we do (or don't) have to others.