Friday, December 16, 2005

The Seattle Times: Opinion: Playing God on a budget

The Seattle Times: Opinion: Playing God on a budget: "Ellen Goodman / Syndicated columnist
Playing God on a budget

BOSTON — The kitchen table was set with the usual utensils for our annual family conference: A mug of coffee, a pot of tea, a stack of fundraising requests, a checkbook and a pen.

Our domestic scene was by no means unique. Americans donate around $250 billion a year. We give half of it between Thanksgiving and Christmas, driven by seasonal good will and (blush) an IRS deadline. This week alone, thousands of families will put billions of dollars into sealed envelopes all destined to do good.

Though we are not, to put it mildly, Melinda and Bill Gates, my husband and I perform this ritual with some generosity and good feeling. But this year, as we shuffled through the requests, with their check-off boxes and carefully honed appeals, something clicked."

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