Charitable giving is great, but we need true solidarity
This holiday season, many well-intended companies, organizations and individuals will be making charitable donations to folks in need. In our social media world, millions will see publicized generosity. Public charity raises the public profile of those giving and boosts their egos.
Philanthropy and charity, as necessary and selfless as they are these days, cannot be substitutes for the kind of solidarity each of us should be exercising daily. We have an economic system arranged to benefit a few over the rest of us. That has to change and those of us with the power to make change must build partnerships with those in need and help them build power to better their own condition.
The U.S. tax code benefits the wealthiest Americans over others. Economic policies make it difficult for working families to build wealth and pass it on to their kids. The federal minimum wage has lost one-third of its purchasing value since 1965. Employer-provided health insurance has gone from commonplace to rare. A majority of Americans can’t afford to cover an unexpected $400 expense. Too many can’t afford to save for retirement. Debt of all kinds makes it too hard for many enter the middle class.
Charitable giving is great, and those who give should be appreciated. However, “when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you. … Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.”