As the saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished”, with the recent announcement that several billionaires will end up donating much of their wealth to philanthropy before they die rather than passing it on to heirs (along with a substantial portion to US coffers by way of the estate tax), many prominent Europeans are coming out against this move and calling it “Undemocratic”. So, people who are willing to give away BILLIONS of dollars in generational wealth rather than spend it or pass it all on to their heirs are being criticized. Per a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, here’s some of the criticism:
“If the rich really wish to create a better world, they can sign another pledge: to pay their taxes on time and in full; to stop lobbying against taxation and regulation; to avoid creating monopolies; to give their employees better wages, pensions, job protection and working conditions; to make goods and use production methods that don’t kill or maim or damage the environment or make people ill.
“The rich make a choice: Would I rather donate or pay taxes? The donors are taking the place of the state. That’s unacceptable.”
“It would have been a greater deed on the part of Mr. Gates or Mr. Buffet if they had given the money to small communities in the US so that they can fulfill public duties.”
These are typical socialist responses frankly, which rely more on big government and high taxes to redistribute the wealth, as opposed to relying on smaller government to fund necessities and provide a protective web for a minority of citizens that have no other means to do so themselves. The basic question becomes, who is the most efficient distributor of funds – Bill Gates or the US Government? Based on what I’ve seen from the Gates Foundation and other NGOs (note they like to make sure they’re clearly designated as NON-government organizations), they are much more efficient at identifying true problems, solutions and attacking a problem as opposed to burdening organizations with layers of bureaucracy. With NGOs and private philanthropists, generally:
- There’s no politics and special interest groups.
- No health care reform with a special side deal for union members and special payoffs to entice a holdout senator to vote for a bill.
- No layers of bureaucrats.
- It’s basic decision-making.
While some would argue that money made by someone like Gates should stay in the US, etc., the counterargument could be that Us citizens were born with a huge gap in opportunities over people in the developing world. And while some argue that he and his brethren should fork over their billions in wealth to the US government to disburse as they please, it’s as easy as pointing to how the government spends other peoples’ money with wanton abandon and no accountability.
Personally, I’d trust a philanthropist over Washington to distribute charitable fuding in an efficient and effective manner.
Who Would You Trust More?
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