Monday, June 26, 2006

Benevolent Billionaire

I can’t blame Warrent Buffett for wanting to give his multi-billion dollar fortune away. I imagine it’s a real pain managing that much money all the time. I mean, what can you do with $40 billion? There is only so much money one can spend on oneself. There is a finite amount of consumable goods a person can consume in one lifetime.
So you end up hiring an army of people to help manage the money for you and keep it from dwindling away through either bad investments, theft or taxes. And of course everyone wants a piece of it. Especially the government. President Bush and Dick Cheney were probably salivating thinking of all the countries they could invade and the wars they could start with that money. (OK, that wasn’t fair. Bush obviously doesn’t think he needs money in the bank to start needless wars. He is happy to wage war on the government’s good faith and credit, which he is currently tarnishing and burying under mountains of debt.)

It makes perfect sense that Buffett would choose Bill Gates’ foundation to take his money. Who else is better prepared at handling and distributing billions and billions of dollars? Giving away millions of dollars is one thing. But billions? That will corrupt even the best institutions. I asked my wife who she would give the money to and she suggested the church. But churches aren’t set up to handle that kind of money. They need money, but they don’t need the responsibility and headaches that come with handling THAT MUCH money. So the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is set up to handle just this kind of thing, is probably the best bet for any billionaire looking to unload a big wad of cash that is currently giving him a big pain in his backside.

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