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?
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?
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?
There seems to be a disagreement between people across the country, and indeed across the world. Is now the time to reopen the economy?
On one side are frustrated protesters, select governors and other politicians, and business owners. Their argument focuses on the economy.
With non-essential businesses shuttered, many small businesses that are crucial to the local economy are not in operation. As a result, the employees that work there are not getting paid, and many of them don’t have much money saved.
This could have catastrophic effects. Those individuals can’t buy food, so their families go hungry or rely on local food banks to eat. Their rent or mortgage doesn’t doesn’t get paid, and those losses accumulate up the financial chain.
Similarly, other medical conditions aren’t treated, which hurts individual health. Property and income taxes aren’t collected, starving local government. In turn, this impacts the prospects for longer-term services. Moreover, the fear over health and financial concerns could exacerbate mental health problems.
On the other side, there is already a huge death toll. In just a few months, more people have died than in the entirety of the years-long Vietnam war. Opening up the community could mean that number could easily double or triple if more people spread the disease. Our health care system is already in crisis in hard-hit areas.
Also, the people likely to be hardest hit are those with the least ability to withstand it. Poor communities, particularly those with high minority populations, are already dying in higher percentages, and that is likely to continue. Those who are already unhealthy, infirm, or immune-compromised will bear the medical and financial brunt.
And to reopen the economy may not do any good if people are afraid to leave their house. Restaurants, for example, can open. However, if most tables are empty every night because most people staying home, they will go out of business anyway.
Ultimately, where do you stand on this issue? Do we need to stay closed for the good of the community? Or open up for the same?