Common Sense

Charitable Donations: Skipping the Middle Man

Sixty billion dollars — just comprehend that figure for a second. That's how much Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are pouring into philanthropic efforts.

Sixty billion bucks: that would pay for a lot of government programs. In one swoop, it'd wipe out a fifth of the government budget deficit. That would make a lot of bureaucrats happy and big government advocates even bigger.

But the world's two richest men have made it clear: We don't mind paying our taxes and we think the rich should pay more in taxes, but when it comes to things we hold dear, oh dear, not the government.

I guess they figure they can do more for mankind with their money than the government can do for mankind with their money.

That's very telling — at least to this much poorer slob —because Gates and Buffett are smart guys. Jeez, these two are the smart money crowd. They're the guys who get into markets when others are fleeing and bail out when others are still frolicking.

So I figure the two smartest guys on the planet are saying, smart money isn't smartly spent by the government. Otherwise they would have given more to the government.

And they didn't.

Because while the super rich might talk up super obligations for the merely rich to give more to the government, when push comes to shove, they themselves can think of plenty of alternatives for their dough to the government.

In a sense, they cut out the middle man and went right to the source: Opting to feed the hungry rather than feed the bureaucracy in charge of feeding the hungry.

Now, to be fair, neither Mr. Gates nor Mr. Buffett said they didn't trust the government with their money.

They didn't have to. Their actions already have.

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