Why the Rich Don’t Feel Rich

The title of a great article by Laura Rowley on Yahoo’s Personal Finance page last week.

In short, Todd Henderson, a U of Chicago lawyer who makes $300k/year with his doctor wife, got hammered by his blog readers for arguing that he wasn’t rich and couldn’t afford a tax increase.

The blowback took two forms. First, people understandably took him to task for his questionable logic. After reading his post, I was stunned by his lack of perspective. I guess he doesn’t know many regular folk. And I guess he didn’t read the recent WSJ article that detailed how many poor people go shopping at Wal-mart at 11:50p.m. the last day of every month so that by the time they hit the check-out registers with their baby formula, diapers, and food, their new food stamps have kicked in. Or I guess he hasn’t traveled in a developing country.

Second, people questioned his sanity for daring to write the post, intimating that he would have been better off not writing it at all. This is where I disagree. While I have no sympathy for his argument, I admire his courage for honestly stating his views. As a blogger, and person I suppose, I probably self-censor myself way too much. Henderson didn’t get hung up on “what might other people think”, instead he chose authenticity. Questionable arguments honestly communicated deepen our civil discourse and strengthen our democracy.

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