with this picture…
Forget the studies that show that it doesn’t work, forget that Texas has the third highest teen pregnancy rate in the country even though they teach abstinence – from Perry’s own experience, abstinence education works.
Just what America needs. A President who doesn’t believe in facts and goes with his gut. Sounds vaguely familiar.
Although it might seem counterintuitive, there’s evidence that giving away even a small sum may help ease your financial stress.
In a study published in Science in 2008, participants were given an envelope containing either $5 or $20 in the morning and asked to spend the money by 5 p.m. Those randomly assigned to a “personal spending” group were told to use the money on a personal expense or gift for themselves, while those assigned to a “prosocial spending” group were told to use the money on a charitable donation or gift for someone else. At day’s end, the participants were asked to rate their happiness. Those who had spent as little as $5 on another person or cause reported being happier than those who had spent it on themselves.
Sharing the (Modest) Wealth
Clearly, you don’t have to engage in Bill Gates-level philanthropy to get a psychological boost from giving. As it turns out, those with the least money to spare may be most inclined, in general, toward sharing what they have.
An article published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2010 looked at this phenomenon. In one study, researchers encouraged participants to see themselves as belonging to either a lower or higher socioeconomic class. Then they asked participants to rate how much of their money should be spent for various purposes. Participants who were led to think of themselves as being on a lower rung of the social ladder said that a greater percentage of one’s annual salary should go to charitable donations.
Feeling Like a Million Bucks
Why does giving money to a worthy cause or a friend in need lift your spirits? First, it may foster a sense of social connectedness. One theory posits that the more modest your means, the more you and your close family and friends may need to rely on one another to get by; hence, the greater focus on generosity.
Second, donating money gives you a sense of making a difference. That’s a welcome antidote to the feeling of helplessness that can come from watching wild stock market gyrations and wildly frustrating budget stalemates.
Third, sharing even a little money may reduce your body’s stress response. Elizabeth Dunn, PhD, the same University of British Columbia psychologist behind the $5 spending study, also led another recent study that looked at how monetary stinginess affects cortisol, a stress hormone. In the study, college students played an economic game, for which they were paid $10. Students had the option of donating some of this payment to another player. Those who kept more of the money for themselves reported feeling more shame. And greater shame, in turn, predicted higher levels of postgame cortisol.
So a case can be made that giving away a few bucks is good not only for your soul, but also for your mind and body. No matter the amount, reminding yourself that you still have the wherewithal to share could be just what you need right now.
- Get re-elected
- Defeat Obama
Please note that the good of the US is not on this list.
- Get re-elected
Also please note that the good of the US is not on this list.
Look – I’m obviously a big ole progressive Liberal (with a capital L). I’m trying to put that aside in this discussion but I’m not going to pretend that I don’t have a leftist approach or perspective.
I don’t believe that the majority of people (and corporations) in a capitalist society will do what’s best for most people overall – they tend to do what’s best for them first, even if that means harming others. It makes me sad, but I think that there is plenty of evidence that repeatedly shows this happening over and over again. Yes, of course, there’s evidence that shows the opposite – but I don’t believe that this is the most common outcome. I think that people (and corporations) are self-focused first as a general rule.
An example of the US government doing the right thing without waiting for the public to demand it is inter-racial marriage. If the US government had waited for the public to vote in favor of inter-racial marriage, it might still be illegal. In this case, the Supreme Court stepped in and did what they felt was right for the country, as per the Constitution. I don’t know that this Congress, Senate or even the Supreme Court is capable of doing this at this point and that makes me very scared and sad.
So, I’m not writing this as a Liberal. I’m writing this as an American. I’m really trying not to pick on anyone in this post cause that’s not going to help and I want to help more than I want to win.
I believe that many of these politicians will defend what they’re doing and say it’s for the good of the country. They may even believe that this is true. But I wish someone would ask a politician if they were willing to take a stance that they felt was for the good of the country, even if it meant losing their seat in Congress or the Senate or whatever. I’m guessing that the vast majority of them would do what’s best for them rather than what’s best for America, even if they won’t admit it in public. That’s not why we elect people.
I believe that ultimately, it’s about power.
(Side note: The Supreme Court is immune to the whole power/re-election thing I’m ranting about, so that’s a whole other discussion I might take on another time – in the meantime, please go read the book The Nine:Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin to get some insight into who these people are and how the court works. It’s a fascinating read.)
Back to the Congress & Senate though - I’m sure it’s always been like this. Power is addictive. But it’s gotten out of control at this point.
So how do you get people to stop putting their own interests before the country’s interests? The only way I can think of is term limits. I have traditionally been ambivalent about this because there are some serious drawbacks – we lose the historical knowledge of good people if they are rotated out, we are constantly bringing in new people who need time to get up to speed, blah blah blah. These are good points and definitely drawbacks.
But, the situation we are in right now is not viable. It will drag this country down. Something needs to be done to encourage bipartisanship and compromise and I’m interested in knowing if there are other options other than term limits.
What do you think?
It’s entirely possible that I’ve been called a smart ass at some point in my life. I take that as a sign of encouragement. And to pass it on, I encourage you to check out these “brilliantly smart ass responses to completely well-meaning signs”.
Here are a few of my favorites (but go here for to see all of them):
(click on picture to enbiggen or just go to the original website to see them all bigger. If you’re a size queen or something.)
Jon shows that Fox “News” talking head Megyn Kelly might be a tad duplicitous when it comes to government & individual rights (in a most amusing way):
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|