Give it back?

A friend recently wrote to me in an e-mail:

I think if you make more than a million dollars per year you have plenty, so you need to give most of it back instead of spending in on yourself.

To clarify, by “you” he doesn’t mean me.  He means “you” in general.

We haven’t yet discussed this further, but he gave me permission to post this. I disagree with him.

I think my first step in establishing a productive discussion here is to gain a better understanding of his position and underlying assumptions.  I’ve come up with a set of questions to get that started.

1.  By “you need to give most of it back”, do you think this should be enforced by government or is it just a personal preference that you would like see people do voluntarily?

2.  Why is your threshold a million dollars?  Why not $50,000, $100,000, $500,000 or $5 million?

3.  Who should it be given back to?

I had one more question, but decided to leave it off for the first round because I think it’s more appropriate for the next round.

What questions would you suggest?   Do you agree or disagree with my friend?

4 thoughts on “Give it back?

  1. what if instead of spending it, the person decides to save and/or reinvest the million? a million dollars worth of capital could probably create more than a couple jobs.

  2. It starts off with if “I make”. Now did I earn that by writing a book and the millions are an advance?

    Is this money I make a short term windfall?

    I had a cousin who stood to make about a million or more from playing basketball. However, his career in the NBA was only about 10 years, and in the end he lost it all (lawsuits, paternity suits, and 1 bad accountant), spending his 40s in poverty.

    Now if I make 1 million or 50 million, and there is no chance of earning this much again, shouldn’t I be able to keep it and manage it to stretch it out for my old age and retirement?

    In giving it back, that would imply that the government was the main player in how I earned it. Does the government help improve jump shots or help write best selling novels?

    So I disagree.

  3. Pingback: Give it back? Part 2 « Our Dinner Table


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