10A008 Billionaires' Dilemma by Jim Davies, 8/14/2010
Recently the news broke that some billionaires plan each to give away half of his fortune to charity. Why?
One reason may be just the very widespread and agreeable one that giving away money brings pleasure. Once one has bought all the toys one can think of buying, to donate money without strings and watch it bring pleasure or healing or other benefit to someone else brings a big boost to self-esteem. Wonderful!
Another is that even billionaires are mortal, and since it takes a while to amass a vast fortune most of them are not spring chickens and may be facing the fact that there is a death tax. The choice is therefore between letting go of some money here and now under one's own control, or of having it confiscated by government and frittered away on wars or other mayhem after all control is lost. The fact that one would not be around to regret the latter somehow fails to bring much comfort. So, which recipient is preferred: a set of selected charities, or Uncle Sam?
For all but the most dedicated Statist, that's a no-brainer - though I was astonished and appalled to hear on some NPR interview yesterday a man express the wish that more rich folk would "donate to government" some of their wealth; I was so upset, the car made a swerve on the highway. But for those billionaires who may be reading this and who can tell the difference between honesty and theft, I respectfully offer some suggestions as follows.
I could add, support us ZGBlog authors with dollars instead of cents; but then you might suspect me of improper motives... so I won't