Sunday, November 30, 2008

Save Yourself, Save the Economy, Save Others: Give More

Do you still have a job? A house? Health insurance? Enough to eat every day? Then you are, in this deteriorating economy, among the fortunate. And therefore at risk of karmic correction.

You don't need me or anyone else to tell you that the ranks of the hungry, the sick, the homeless, the unemployed grow daily. You're spending less this Christmas because of fear that you may soon be among their ranks.

But just as the Obama administration will be able to restore the economy only by spending to create jobs rather than slashing the budget, cutting your family spending is also counter-productive.

No, don't run out to Wal-mart to buy more useless plastic crap. Spend to help the economy, help others and help yourself: give more to charity.

I could be laid off soon, but despite that - no, because of that - I am increasing my charitable contributions this year. I also added a local food bank to the homeless shelter, rehab program, low-income housing, family planning and AIDS treatment already on my list.

And if you want to kill three birds with one stone, turn those contributions into holiday gifts. We've all got somebody we exchange gifts with every year, somebody who doesn't need any more crap, but to whom we want to express affection.

Give that person the gift of philanthropy. Most national and international charities have online forms for making contributions in someone else's name, and will send that person an acknowledgement.

But I'm sure if you sent a check to a local charity, with a note asking them to notify your friend that the contribution was made in their name, the charity would be happy to do so.

As you know if you've ever given to charity, not even the joy of getting the one thing you've wanted all year compares with the feeling you get from giving to others.

Besides, you don't want to spend your next life as a cockroach, do you?

Cross-posted at They Gave Us A Republic ....