But Now You Know

The search for truth in human action

Should You “Give Back” to Your Employer?


When you buy bread for a dollar, the seller is "giving back to the community" for the dollar, by feeding you a dollar's worth of food. He is literally "feeding the hungry".

Each year, a generous social organization probably gives you tens of thousands of dollars, through your job.

You are very fortunate to be given this plentiful benefit, and should give back to the society of your bosses. Perhaps by giving them money, or volunteering to help them prosper.

“But wait” you say, “they didn’t pay me that money as charity…it wasn’t fortune! It wasn’t a windfall or luck! I earned that money! They were paying me for services I rendered to them! I owe them nothing, because it was a fair exchange!”

And you’re right, of course.

This is so obvious that my statements above were patently absurd. I couldn’t easily find a way to make them convincing, lest I drive you away by sounding like a nutcase.

And yet that’s just the sort of insanity that “progressives” advocate, these days.

That’s How They Got Rich

Certain class hate types are saying we should take even more money from the wealthy (families who make over $250K and already shoulder 90% of the Federal income tax), because “those who have benefitted most from our way of life can afford to give a bit more back“.

But most people who get rich earn their money, just like you d0. Their customers, like your employer, trade with them voluntarily, and (hopefully like your employer) believe they are getting as much or more as they are paying for. They “benefit” only exactly in proportion to how much they “give back”, already. If you earn a billion dollars in the marketplace, it means you have already given over a billion dollars in value to the people who (therefore) paid you for it.

Now it’s true that some wealthy people don’t get their money consensually. It amounts to ill-gotten loot they secured because they are the crony of some corrupt politician who hands them fat taxpayer money as pork — for example, Dick Cheney and Haliburton, or Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill’s husband. And I’m all for a special surtax on government officials, employees, and contractors and their cronies, who profit on the taxpayers’ backs instead of by contributing to society.

But if we want to attach being wealthy more with contributing to society, we need to reduce government’s influence, instead of expanding it. When government oversteps its legitimate boundaries, it ends up voilating our choices, making people rich whom we would not have chosen to pay, who did not to society for the money.

Whether with needless government contracts, bailouts, pork, or forcing you to buy from someone like a monopoly (cable and power companies) or mandate (health insurance under Obamacare, mercury-laden lightbulbs and inferior toilets), this does create wealthy people who’ve given nothing…and we need to stop it from happening.

People who earn their money have already “given back”, and don’t need to make some extra sacrifice as punishment for their success. That success shows how much they’ve already given. We need to stop the class envy greed, and focus on cutting the spending that is done on the backs of all productive Americans, freeing ourselves to succeed again.

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April 16, 2011 - Posted by | Economy, Philosophy, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for the great article. I’ve been following you for a while and I have a quick question before I look forward to the next one:

    What principles are your political beliefs based on, and what do you think is the legitimate functions of government (if any)?

    Comment by Nix | April 23, 2011 | Reply


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