Can We End Poverty?

While poverty is a subjective term, it is a fact that, right now, not the marketplace, public policy, nor charitable giving consistently covers the necessities that so many people in this country desperately need. Millions must choose between healthy food, adequate housing, reliable health insurance, quality childcare, and many other essentials because their job doesn’t pay a living wage, or they cannot work for various justifiable reasons.

Meanwhile, many of the wealthiest Americans pay no income tax and do an outstanding job of converting taxable income into protected wealth, playing a massive role in keeping America’s public coffers without the resources to address this situation, along with other needs. Similarly, tax loopholes allow U. S. companies to create “headquarters” in other (low-tax) counties to escape paying their fair share in this country.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What are our responsibilities to others?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘Are we too busy?’


From a different perspective, many well-intentioned people point to various religious texts that say, in effect, the poor will always be with us. But there is theological debate over whether this means there will always be poor people or, coming at it from a completely different angle, advising those with means to have an affinity or allegiance with those of extremely limited resources over the “needs” of those who either do all right or, more to the point, have considerable resources that could help meet more needs in this country.

On the political front, many wonder if anybody is worth enough to be a billionaire. Did you know that there are 614 billionaires? The wealthiest 400, in fact, hold $3.2 trillion in assets. A slice of those resources could go a long way toward meeting the needs of our poorest neighbors.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, when those in government decide to help the poor, our existing programs do a pretty good job at alleviating their immediate needs?

Can we end poverty? Should we at least give it a try?

Related questions: What is the greatest problem facing humanity? How will the economy be impacted by COVID-19? What is the purpose of money? How do we turn ideas into actions?

Vacation Or Staycation?

How many times have you heard someone say, “I need a vacation to recover from my vacation”? Maybe the easiest way to recharge is to do something small. Alternately, you can’t have many new experiences staying at (or near) home. Which do you prefer?

Share why if you wish.

Vacation Or Staycation?

What Would You Do With A Million Dollars?

If something unforeseen happened and you suddenly received an unexpected million dollars, what would you do with it?

Several states are offering money, through a random drawing, for people who have received the COVID vaccine. Ohio, for example, has already given away a prize of a million dollars.

Now, a million dollars is not the amount of money it used to be. Still, for the majority of Americans, a million dollars would be a life-changing amount of money. Plus, the fact that it is not a ridiculous amount of money might make it more challenging to think of various possibilities.


Related: Listen to the Intellectual Roundtable podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the question, ‘How much is enough?’ The discussion comes after a bonus question, ‘How much of our thoughts are our own?’


What would you do with that kind of money?

Perhaps you would spend it. One way is to pay off your mortgage, or even buy another house. You could eliminate any student debt. You might go on a lavish vacation. Or buy a fancy car.

You might decide to save the money (or at least some of it). You could invest in the stock market, start a business, or go back to school.

Alternately, you might donate some or all of it. You could help struggling friends or family members. There are any number of worthy causes that could be assisted.

Do you think you would leave your job? You could switch to another, more fulfilling job if you had some financial cushion. You might even take an early retirement, depending how close you are to retirement age.

Ultimately, knowing what you would do with a sudden windfall may just influence how to spend the money that you do have.  What would you do with a million dollars?

Related questions: What is the purpose of money? Time or money? How do you plan for the future?

Who Has Power?

In our society, it is the people who have power who manage to get things done. The type of power — financial, political, or even brute force — might change, but the use of it to accomplish goals does not.

We see examples of influence all around us. A business leader may use connections they have to make deals. Or someone who holds political office may use their position to enact legislation. Yet another example is a popular person exercising their social connections.

That power might be used for personal gain, or it might be used for societal gain. How it is used may be determined by the character of the person with the advantage. Conversely, there might be social or legislative checks on that power.

There is also a certain influence that comes from collaboration. One person may not be able to do much in isolation, but if that person can recruit a hundred others to help them, their reach can expand drastically.

Do you see power being used around you? How? Who has it? Is one kind more effective than another?

Related questions: Where does authority come from? Individual or society? What makes a good leader? How much power does an individual have?