#415, June 26, 2006
COLUMBUS: When Bill Gates announced he was gonna give away $30 Billion it caused quite a ripple in the country. Now along comes Bill’s good friend, Warren Buffett, who says he will go in with Bill and add $40 Billion to the pot. It wasn’t just a ripple, it was flood.
In fact in Washington, DC, it really was a flood. The high water was partly from a rain storm. But mostly it was tears from the IRS. Seeing all that revenue siphoned off before it could be inherited and taxed, the IRS is crying a river that rivals the Potomac.
These tax folks aren’t just worried about losing the Gates-Buffett fortunes, it’s all the other Billionaires that might follow their lead. But they ain’t the first wealthy Americans to bypass the government and do good with their own money. There was Carnegie, Kellogg, and “my” good friends Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller, the man who kinda set the standard (or Standard) for philanthropy. (See Historic quote below)
The way Mr. Buffett invests and multiplies, that $40 Billion is likely just a down payment. A few years ago I proposed that we let him manage our Social Security funds. If Congress had been that far-sighted to make such a wise move they wouldn’t have to argue over how to pay for drugs for old folks.
Historic quote from Will Rogers:
“Hurrah for Mr. Rockefeller, 96 years old today, one of the very few men that knew how to give money away so that every dollar does good. That’s more than our government can do. It’s more than anybody can do. All over the world there is a Rockefeller doctor swatting at a mosquito or trapping a poisonous fly. I flew the whole east coast of Brazil and they have eliminated mosquitos. However, I do wish he would spread some of that Standard Oil (or even Gulf Oil) on some of these home-talent mosquitos. There is no end to that old gentleman’s talents. He beat insurance without dying. They just got discouraged and paid him. He will make the 100 and some to spare.” DT #2784, July 8, 1935
(Note: John D. Rockefeller died May 23, 1937)