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View Full Version : "What a wonderful human being you are," Mr Thompson told Mr Gates.


cr2sh
Jan 27, 2003, 12:21 AM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/2696263.stm

I wish he'd just eat a bullet.


Billionaires have a responsibility to harness their riches for good of society, Bill Gates, the world's richest person, has told world leaders.

Mr Gates, worth some $50bn, urged "everyone to be philanthropic".

"Every day we can do so," he said.

But he said wealth on his scale came with a demand to "make sure it goes back to global society in the most impactful way".

"There is a certain responsibility that accrued to me when I got to this unexpected position," Mr Gates, founder and chairman of software giant Microsoft, said.

The comments came as he revealed that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a $24bn charity founded two years ago, was targeting $200m at the "grand challenges" facing global health.

The announcement was made at the World Economic Forum's annual summit of political, business and social leaders in Davos, Switzerland, an event which this year has placed particular emphasis this year on executives' behaviour.

Research ideas

The initiative will see a 20-strong committee, led by Nobel prize winner Dr Harold Varmus, identify health problems which remain unsolved despite the medical advances, and accelerate research in promising areas.

Action targets could include finding ways to block the reappearance of latent tuberculosis, or to prevent mosquitos transmitting diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.

Mr Gates cited the development of vaccines which could be stored at room temperature, allowing preventative treatment in areas without refrigerators.

"In some cases, different vaccines require different temperatures, so you have to have two refrigerators in a delivery area," he added.

The grand challenge programme, which follows the foundation's grant in November of $100m to fight HIV/Aids in India, was welcomed by US Health Secretary Tommy Thompson as "great for mankind".

"What a wonderful human being you are," Mr Thompson told Mr Gates. "I thank you for your generosity."

Mr Gates was in 2002 voted the world's richest person by Forbes magazine for the fifth successive year, despite a $5.9bn decline in his personal fortune to $52.8bn.

He added that his Microsoft role remained his full-time job, and one he "was excited about".

rainman::|:|
Jan 27, 2003, 01:48 AM
Yeah, it's easy to donate a few million here and there, and tell everyone to be philanthropic, when you're worth $50-90 billion dollars (i've heard different reports)... he needs to set an example, i'd like to see $10 billion to AIDS research for starters.

Ah well, at least he's giving *something*...

BS, he should be giving more.

pnw

cr2sh
Jan 27, 2003, 02:00 AM
10,000,000 / 59,000,000,000 = .00016 OR 0.016%

If I make $60,000 a year, that is the equivalent to me giving $10.17.

I'm a student though, I have about $2000 to my name plus my truck. Hands down I'm worth less than 10grand. In order for me to be an equivalent 'great human being' like Bill Gates, I have to donate $1.60. (I gave more than that this morning to help find a cure for Breast Cancer)
He is one of the people who can help the most, and he's doing the LEAST. ***** him, that's *********.

Gelfin
Jan 27, 2003, 03:41 AM
Uh, a few years ago Bill Gates came under fire in the media and among other ultra-rich folk for his complete lack of charitable activity.

In fact, at the time I myself defended his right to choose how to dispose of his own money, assuming he's willing to live with the consequences that people (myself included) would regard him as an utter bastard. You can't force somebody to be charitable and still call it charity.

Clearly, however, he was not willing to live with those consequences, and people have miserably short memories, especially when somebody is signing a really big check.

Gates is in no position to lecture anybody about the worthiness of charity, because it's very obvious in his case that "charity" is simply the result of some very wise image consultant tipping him off that when you're a billionaire, in terms of relative cost, you can buy sainthood in the public eye from a gumball machine.

drastik
Jan 27, 2003, 08:29 AM
Though I think that Gates is a phony, and I hate windows nd the Miscrosoft business principle above all, the Gates Foundation does good things. Sure, it may be because he can defeer taxes this way, or because his image consultant told him to do it, but I don't care. Its not drug money. ITs his money, and I don't care why he gives it, just that he gives it.

sparkleytone
Jan 27, 2003, 08:55 AM
no its not his money. its the IRS' money. he gives exactly as much as he needs to give as told to him by his accountants. how much does m$ pay in taxes?? zero.

lmalave
Jan 27, 2003, 10:59 AM
You people all need to get some SERIOUS perspective. Just because we don't agree with Microsoft's business practices doesn't mean we need to attack Mr. Gates' charitable donations as a private citizen. Personally, I think Bill's charitable donations are great. He has set up something like a $20 billion foundation to give to health care and education related causes. The $200 is just a disbursement from this fund - there's a lot more where that came from.

C'mon the third world needs all the help they can get - the standard of living has actually gone DOWN in the third world ove the past 20 years while the developed world has boomed. Africa is facing a major health crisis. At Bill's rate of giving he'll probably give more aid than the Federal government (in much the same way that Ted Turner's billion-dollar gift to the U.N. is more money than the U.S. government has given it).

C'mon you all are hypocrites. I don't want to hear talk about percentages of income or wealth that Mr. Gates is donating. Don't you all realize that everyone posting on this forum is relatively very prosperous by world standards. How much of YOUR income do you give to charity? Oh, you don't have enough money you say. Too many bills to pay? Just scraping by? Yea freakin' RIGHT! Tell that to someone in another part of the world who's making less than half your income (which would cover most of the world not to mention many people in our own country). Oh and don't even TRY to talk to me about higher living expenses. By ANY way you measure it we have more DISPOSABLE income than most of the world.

Hypocrites!
:mad: :mad: :mad:

funkywhat2
Jan 27, 2003, 11:25 AM
Originally posted by lmalave
You people all need to get some SERIOUS perspective. Just because we don't agree with Microsoft's business practices doesn't mean we need to attack Mr. Gates' charitable donations as a private citizen. Personally, I think Bill's charitable donations are great. He has set up something like a $20 billion foundation to give to health care and education related causes. The $200 is just a disbursement from this fund - there's a lot more where that came from.

C'mon the third world needs all the help they can get - the standard of living has actually gone DOWN in the third world ove the past 20 years while the developed world has boomed. Africa is facing a major health crisis. At Bill's rate of giving he'll probably give more aid than the Federal government (in much the same way that Ted Turner's billion-dollar gift to the U.N. is more money than the U.S. government has given it).

C'mon you all are hypocrites. I don't want to hear talk about percentages of income or wealth that Mr. Gates is donating. Don't you all realize that everyone posting on this forum is relatively very prosperous by world standards. How much of YOUR income do you give to charity? Oh, you don't have enough money you say. Too many bills to pay? Just scraping by? Yea freakin' RIGHT! Tell that to someone in another part of the world who's making less than half your income (which would cover most of the world not to mention many people in our own country). Oh and don't even TRY to talk to me about higher living expenses. By ANY way you measure it we have more DISPOSABLE income than most of the world.

Hypocrites!
:mad: :mad: :mad:

I think I will talk about higher living expenses.


While we may make more, you have to remember the higher cost of living in a developed nation. There are some things that one may consider a luxury, but in fact they are essential to have in a developed nation. A computer is essential to most people home lives. Television is a mjor source of learning. Taxes are high, as well as home prices, and people need to pay their taxes and have a home, no? Or do you think that all people should live in cardbord boxes? People need "luxury" items in order to make it in this world. You need a decent car. You need a computer. You need a nice suit. You need telvision, or if not that, an internet connection. You need a college education.

I may be prosperous comared to some guy in Africa, but I am anything but compred to the guy how lives next to me.

cr2sh
Jan 27, 2003, 12:02 PM
Originally posted by lmalave
C'mon you all are hypocrites. I don't want to hear talk about percentages of income or wealth that Mr. Gates is donating. Don't you all realize that everyone posting on this forum is relatively very prosperous by world standards. How much of YOUR income do you give to charity? Oh, you don't have enough money you say.

I realize that as a college student I am very lucky, I've had a life afforded me... and intend to make good on it. When it becomes about how much *I* do, we've lost all perspective.. the fact he, per scale, does MUCH, MUCH LESS THAN ANYONE I KNOW. Big numbers like 200million mean nothing when that is 0.004 of your personal worth.
I don't remember anyone saying they didn't have enough money.

lmalave
Jan 27, 2003, 12:11 PM
Originally posted by cr2sh


I realize that as a college student I am very lucky, I've had a life afforded me... and intend to make good on it. When it becomes about how much *I* do, we've lost all perspective.. the fact he, per scale, does MUCH, MUCH LESS THAN ANYONE I KNOW. Big numbers like 200million mean nothing when that is 0.004 of your personal worth.
I don't remember anyone saying they didn't have enough money.

Well, he created a $24 billion foundation, with his own shares of Microsoft stock! That is a tremendous amount of wealth to set aside for charity (I believe at the time he established the foundation it was 1/3 of his net worth). Is giving 1/3 of your total wealth to a charitable foundation "MUCH, MUCH LESS THAN ANYONE I KNOW". Well, you must have very, very generous friends and acquaintances then. Granted, Mr. Gates doesn't exactly need the extra $24 billion to pay his monthly bills. But still, 1/3 of anyone's net worth is a significant sum. I would reckon that MOST millionaires don't part with NEARLY that percentage of their wealth.

Taft
Jan 27, 2003, 12:18 PM
Originally posted by lmalave

Hypocrites!
:mad: :mad: :mad:

Fudge that!!!!

I am not a hypocrite.

While the Gates foundation is doing good things, very good things, Mr. Gates statement about the responsibility of rich people to be charitable is a complete joke. He's lecturing other rich people and at the same time giving a measly 1/250th of his wealth to charitable causes. As someone else stated, thats the equivilant of me giving away thirty bucks given my current net worth. I gave a gay rights group more than that much this past weekend alone. Lets hope he continues this trend and that its just the start of something big. If he has actually earmarked $20bn for charity THAT would be an impressive fund and I would give him high marks for such a generous donation.

And my critisim of Gates is in no way hypocritical. You need to look up the definition. I am criticising him for not giving enough. I give much more of a percentage of my income to charitable groups. I routinely give to the homeless, I raised a butt load of money a year and a half ago and subsequently participated in the AIDS Ride which supports poor people in this country living with AIDS, and I've started a fund at work which we distribute to the homeless in the Chicago area. HOW IS THAT HYPOCITICAL?????

How the fudge can you sit there and judge the people on this forum when you have no idea how much they give or how dedicated they are to helping the lives of the less fortunate? By your standards I could criticise you for living in Manhatten. Why don't you move to a hut in the wilderness and give the money you save on rent (and the crazy CVS and Walgreens prices) to charity???? SEE how ridiculous that sounds??

Taft

lmalave
Jan 27, 2003, 12:31 PM
Originally posted by crazy_will


I think I will talk about higher living expenses.


While we may make more, you have to remember the higher cost of living in a developed nation. There are some things that one may consider a luxury, but in fact they are essential to have in a developed nation. A computer is essential to most people home lives. Television is a mjor source of learning. Taxes are high, as well as home prices, and people need to pay their taxes and have a home, no? Or do you think that all people should live in cardbord boxes? People need "luxury" items in order to make it in this world. You need a decent car. You need a computer. You need a nice suit. You need telvision, or if not that, an internet connection. You need a college education.

I may be prosperous comared to some guy in Africa, but I am anything but compred to the guy how lives next to me.

Ah yes, well it's human nature, isn't it? Enough is never enough.

For your information - you don't NEED any of the above that you mentioned. My mother raised two kids on a salary (when she had one) that was below the poverty line, and I never felt deprived. Sure, everyone from my school had fancier clothes and was always talking about their vacations to Maui, but hell, I couldn't complain - I not only ate well, lived in a comfortable apartment, and went to a great public school, but I even had a few luxuries: Atari, VCR, Cable TV (but no car by the way - I, my brother, and my mom rode the bus). So you don't NEED a big house, you don't NEED an expensive car (you'd be amazed by the old cars people still drive in other countries), you don't NEED a fancy computer and internet connection (if you really had to you could make do with a $400 computer or even just go to your local library), you don't NEED an expensive suit (a cheap suit can look great if you know where to look and how to wear it, if you know what I mean).

My whole point is that everything is relative. Even in 50 years when the standard of living is 10 times what it is now, people will still make your argument that they just don't have enough money because they "NEED" to buy a lot of things. It all comes down to wether or not you make charity and giving a priority. And hey, I know I don't :p But I'm not going to attack someone else because they don't give enough. I think I have no right to do so unless I gave a significant amount of my time and/or income to charity myself, and since I don't then attacking Mr. Gates would be hyporitical. Which is what I'm calling all of you. :mad:

lmalave
Jan 27, 2003, 12:45 PM
Originally posted by Taft


Fudge that!!!!

I am not a hypocrite.

While the Gates foundation is doing good things, very good things, Mr. Gates statement about the responsibility of rich people to be charitable is a complete joke. He's lecturing other rich people and at the same time giving a measly 1/250th of his wealth to charitable causes. As someone else stated, thats the equivilant of me giving away thirty bucks given my current net worth. I gave a gay rights group more than that much this past weekend alone. Lets hope he continues this trend and that its just the start of something big. If he has actually earmarked $20bn for charity THAT would be an impressive fund and I would give him high marks for such a generous donation.

And my critisim of Gates is in no way hypocritical. You need to look up the definition. I am criticising him for not giving enough. I give much more of a percentage of my income to charitable groups. I routinely give to the homeless, I raised a butt load of money a year and a half ago and subsequently participated in the AIDS Ride which supports poor people in this country living with AIDS, and I've started a fund at work which we distribute to the homeless in the Chicago area. HOW IS THAT HYPOCITICAL?????

How the fudge can you sit there and judge the people on this forum when you have no idea how much they give or how dedicated they are to helping the lives of the less fortunate? By your standards I could criticise you for living in Manhatten. Why don't you move to a hut in the wilderness and give the money you save on rent (and the crazy CVS and Walgreens prices) to charity???? SEE how ridiculous that sounds??

Taft

Well, I sincerley applaud your charitable efforts. I'm not attacking anybody in this forum's giving, on the contrary. But what I AM attacking their hypocrisy at making the comments they made about Gates. As I pointed out above, at the time that Bill started the foundation with 1/3 of his net worth. Now, I don't know what you think, but I think that that is a significant sum by any standards. What I'm specifically attacking are comments like Gelfin's "when you're a billionaire, in terms of relative cost, you can buy sainthood in the public eye from a gumball machine". My point is that talking about percentages of income is hypocritical, because wealth is relative. Bill Gates has an almost unimaginable amount of wealth (if he chose to cash it in today), but by the same token most of us are wealthy by world standards. Even poor people in this country do well (see my coment above about my own "poor" upbringing).

And realize that all Mr. Gates' wealth is tied up in Microsoft stock. "Giving" that wealth just means giving up his ownership stake in Microsoft. Which is exactly what he did with the Foundation - he gave it 1/3 of the shares he owned in Microsoft!! Sure, he still controls those shares as head of the foundation, but he cannot roll those shares back into his personal wealth - those shares are now ONLY to be used for the charitable causes supported by the foundation. He gave away 1/3 of his wealth to his foundation, folks. Like I said before, the $200 million sum is just a one-time disbursement from that fund. When you're dealing with such vast sums of money Foundations are the way to go - it would be stupid to just write a check for $200 million or $1 billion from his personal wealth whenever he felt like it. Establishing a foundation formalizes it and makes sure that large sums of money are given away on a regular basis basically indefinitely, since the foundation is self-sustaining (Bill said he'd give away the entire foundation, but I don't believe him and think it would be stupid anyway. I think he'll give away over $20 billion in his lifetime, but only about one or two billion a year off the interest that the foundation is earning)

Get over it people. You can find a LOT of other things to criticize in this world rather than wether or not Bill gives enough to charity (which I think he does).

Taft
Jan 27, 2003, 01:28 PM
Originally posted by lmalave


Well, I sincerley applaud your charitable efforts. I'm not attacking anybody in this forum's giving, on the contrary. But what I AM attacking their hypocrisy at making the comments they made about Gates. As I pointed out above, at the time that Bill started the foundation with 1/3 of his net worth. Now, I don't know what you think, but I think that that is a significant sum by any standards. What I'm specifically attacking are comments like Gelfin's "when you're a billionaire, in terms of relative cost, you can buy sainthood in the public eye from a gumball machine". My point is that talking about percentages of income is hypocritical, because wealth is relative. Bill Gates has an almost unimaginable amount of wealth (if he chose to cash it in today), but by the same token most of us are wealthy by world standards. Even poor people in this country do well (see my coment above about my own "poor" upbringing).

And realize that all Mr. Gates' wealth is tied up in Microsoft stock. "Giving" that wealth just means giving up his ownership stake in Microsoft. Which is exactly what he did with the Foundation - he gave it 1/3 of the shares he owned in Microsoft!! Sure, he still controls those shares as head of the foundation, but he cannot roll those shares back into his personal wealth - those shares are now ONLY to be used for the charitable causes supported by the foundation. He gave away 1/3 of his wealth to his foundation, folks. Like I said before, the $200 million sum is just a one-time disbursement from that fund. When you're dealing with such vast sums of money Foundations are the way to go - it would be stupid to just write a check for $200 million or $1 billion from his personal wealth whenever he felt like it. Establishing a foundation formalizes it and makes sure that large sums of money are given away on a regular basis basically indefinitely, since the foundation is self-sustaining (Bill said he'd give away the entire foundation, but I don't believe him and think it would be stupid anyway. I think he'll give away over $20 billion in his lifetime, but only about one or two billion a year off the interest that the foundation is earning)

Get over it people. You can find a LOT of other things to criticize in this world rather than wether or not Bill gives enough to charity (which I think he does).

Again, I didn't know that Gates had earmarked $20bn to go to charitable causes. Is that a fact? I hadn't heard that he'd given that much, or intended to.

And viewing things in terms of proportion is a very valid way to look at things. A person worth 50 billion can afford to give a lot more money than a person pulling in 25 G's a year. And, in my opinion, if they don't give a reasonable proportion of their money, they are being very selfish and denying humanity of a valuable service. In other words, I think thats very bad of them.

So I think my original point stands when viewing only the 200 dollar donation. If he truly gave 1/3 of his wealth, as I said before, thats a very comendable deed and other really rich people should take Gates lead.

Taft

funkywhat2
Jan 27, 2003, 02:21 PM
Originally posted by lmalave


Ah yes, well it's human nature, isn't it? Enough is never enough.

For your information - you don't NEED any of the above that you mentioned. My mother raised two kids on a salary (when she had one) that was below the poverty line, and I never felt deprived. Sure, everyone from my school had fancier clothes and was always talking about their vacations to Maui, but hell, I couldn't complain - I not only ate well, lived in a comfortable apartment, and went to a great public school, but I even had a few luxuries: Atari, VCR, Cable TV (but no car by the way - I, my brother, and my mom rode the bus). So you don't NEED a big house, you don't NEED an expensive car (you'd be amazed by the old cars people still drive in other countries), you don't NEED a fancy computer and internet connection (if you really had to you could make do with a $400 computer or even just go to your local library), you don't NEED an expensive suit (a cheap suit can look great if you know where to look and how to wear it, if you know what I mean).

My whole point is that everything is relative. Even in 50 years when the standard of living is 10 times what it is now, people will still make your argument that they just don't have enough money because they "NEED" to buy a lot of things. It all comes down to wether or not you make charity and giving a priority. And hey, I know I don't :p But I'm not going to attack someone else because they don't give enough. I think I have no right to do so unless I gave a significant amount of my time and/or income to charity myself, and since I don't then attacking Mr. Gates would be hyporitical. Which is what I'm calling all of you. :mad:

And what year was this? Did the internet even exist? Are you saying that I don't need a house or shoes? Maybe I should try not paying my taxes, and we'll see what happens?

lmalave
Jan 27, 2003, 02:34 PM
Originally posted by crazy_will


And what year was this? Did the internet even exist? Are you saying that I don't need a house or shoes? Maybe I should try not paying my taxes, and we'll see what happens?

FYI the U.S. has a low tax burden by world standards.

And anyway, why don't you just embrace your selfishness? I know I do :p

There's nothing wrong with being selfish - it's called self-preservation. I don't think there's anything wrong with that - I'm attacking HYPOCRISY, not selfishness. I just find it very, very galling that people are attacking Mr. Gates because he's donating "only" a few hundred million. C'mon people, get real! There's a LOT worse people in this world than Mr. Gates, who I consider relatively benign.

lmalave
Jan 27, 2003, 02:54 PM
Originally posted by Taft


Again, I didn't know that Gates had earmarked $20bn to go to charitable causes. Is that a fact? I hadn't heard that he'd given that much, or intended to.

And viewing things in terms of proportion is a very valid way to look at things. A person worth 50 billion can afford to give a lot more money than a person pulling in 25 G's a year. And, in my opinion, if they don't give a reasonable proportion of their money, they are being very selfish and denying humanity of a valuable service. In other words, I think thats very bad of them.

So I think my original point stands when viewing only the 200 dollar donation. If he truly gave 1/3 of his wealth, as I said before, thats a very comendable deed and other really rich people should take Gates lead.

Taft

Well, I can understand your misconception about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation considering the forum we're discussing this on (where SJ is Jesus and BG is Satan). But the fact is Bill Gates created a non-profit organization with $20 Billion of his own money, which ranks as the world's largest both in total value AND giving. The Foundation gave away $1 Billion during the last fiscal year:
http://www.fdncenter.org/research/trends_analysis/top100giving.html

And by the way, this charitable giving doesn't come from a vacuum - his mom was the head of freakin' United Way!:

Here's a quote from the man himself (from a Wired.com article):

"I realized about 10 years ago that my wealth has to go back to society," said Gates, 47. "Initially, I thought I would do it when I retired, but some of the problems can't wait that long for solutions, and I realized I'd have to do it in my lifetime."

Gates said Monday he was influenced by his own parents' practice of donating to charities. His late mother, Mary Gates, directed several companies and became the first woman to head the national United Way.

Gates and his wife, Melinda, established their charitable foundation in 1994, initially naming it for his father, William H. Gates Sr., who served as its manager.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as it is now known, has given more than $3.1 billion in grants for projects to fight AIDS and improve health care, education and computer literacy. Leaving a legacy of money alone would not be a favor to his children, he said Tuesday.

"The idea that I would take the sizable portion of my fortune and have them inherit it ... I don't think that would be to society's benefit or their benefit."

The Gates, married in 1994, have three children, Jennifer, 6; Rory, 3; and baby Phoebe, born in September. The family lives in a high-tech $53 million mansion in the Seattle suburb of Medina.

"I don't think it is constructive to grow up having billions of dollars," Gates said. He added that he would "make sure that they are taken care of ... they can live comfortably."

Gates previously has said his children would inherit about $10 million each.


Gate's a hero in my eyes, man. I haven't heard ANYONE with his vast wealth say they're going to give away all their money and leave their children only $10 million. That's eminently reasonable, and yet most people are too blinded by lust for wealth to take such a step.

Maclicious
Jan 27, 2003, 03:26 PM
Originally posted by lmalave


Gates said: "I don't think it is constructive to grow up having billions of dollars," Gates said. He added that he would "make sure that they are taken care of ... they can live comfortably."

Gates previously has said his children would inherit about $10 million each.


If he really wants to be constructive, 10 Mil is way too much--it's enough so the child never has to really work at anything, if she prefers. Even a Mil is too much. A better way to pass money on to your direct heirs is to create a matching foundation in each child's names. The foundation pays each heir an amount equal to the amount that heir makes each year doing whatever it is they do to make a living (up to some maximum?). Kind of a graded motivation package. Might be some minimum, like 10K. Hmm, probably tax consequences to such a plan that would make it less desirable, but I still find that more desireable than the risk of raising a pack of brats.

Gelfin
Jan 27, 2003, 03:45 PM
Originally posted by lmalave
What I'm specifically attacking are comments like Gelfin's "when you're a billionaire, in terms of relative cost, you can buy sainthood in the public eye from a gumball machine".

Sure, if you're going to take that quote out of context, it makes an easy target. Let me clarify. I am glad that some of Gates' money is going to worthy causes. It's a hell of a lot of money, and it can do a lot of good things. I would not presume to say the amount he gives is too much or not enough or whatever.

The specific point I was making, which you chose to ignore completely, had nothing to do with the money itself, but with the phony "philanthropy is wonderful" attitude from a man who only became philanthropic after taking massive hits for his selfishness a scant few years ago. I don't object to whatever charity he deigns to give to whatever causes he chooses. I do, however, take offense at what I perceive to be insincere glory-hounding.

lmalave
Jan 27, 2003, 04:05 PM
Originally posted by Maclicious


If he really wants to be constructive, 10 Mil is way too much--it's enough so the child never has to really work at anything, if she prefers. Even a Mil is too much. A better way to pass money on to your direct heirs is to create a matching foundation in each child's names. The foundation pays each heir an amount equal to the amount that heir makes each year doing whatever it is they do to make a living (up to some maximum?). Kind of a graded motivation package. Might be some minimum, like 10K. Hmm, probably tax consequences to such a plan that would make it less desirable, but I still find that more desireable than the risk of raising a pack of brats.

See, this is what I'm talking about. The man is doing something that almost NO rich person EVER does, and yet still people attack him. Your idea sounds great, but Mr. Gates is already taking the perfectly reasonable attitiude that he will leave his childre a huge sum of money - $10 million - and give away the rest. That is the thinking of a man guided by reason, and not a biological impulse to leave his children as much money as possible, which is what most rich people do. Most rich people are perfectly OK with thinking of themselves as royalty, and that their children will inherit and extend the wealth and power of their dynasty. That's archaic thinking, in my opinion, and Bill is doing something that I find much more reasonable. Give your kids the best education, give them some seed money that's enough to do basically anything they want to do, and, hey, if they can't make it with $10 million then that's their freakin' problem!

lmalave
Jan 27, 2003, 04:12 PM
Originally posted by Gelfin


Sure, if you're going to take that quote out of context, it makes an easy target. Let me clarify. I am glad that some of Gates' money is going to worthy causes. It's a hell of a lot of money, and it can do a lot of good things. I would not presume to say the amount he gives is too much or not enough or whatever.

The specific point I was making, which you chose to ignore completely, had nothing to do with the money itself, but with the phony "philanthropy is wonderful" attitude from a man who only became philanthropic after taking massive hits for his selfishness a scant few years ago. I don't object to whatever charity he deigns to give to whatever causes he chooses. I do, however, take offense at what I perceive to be insincere glory-hounding.

My apologies. I realize the quote was taken out of context, but it seemed to summarize the thinking of most the other posts so I used it. To your point, though, see my post above about the Gates family history of charitable giving. Bill's dad is a prominent Seattle lawyer and active in charitable organizations his whole life, and his mom was a schoolteacher involved with charitable organizations her whole life that eventually became the head of United Way. Keep in mind that Bill's "wealth" is in mostly in the form of Microsoft stock (especially in the 80's and early 90's). Bill's main motivation for keeping his wealth was to not reduce his ownership (and therefore voting) stake in Microsoft, not because he's a greedy bastard that likes to amass piles of gold so he can look at them. Notice that his divestment from Microsoft coincided with his stepping back from day-to-day operations to the more symbolic Chairman position a few years ago. Which again both coincided with his marriage and desire to focus more time on his family.

cr2sh
Jan 27, 2003, 05:23 PM
Originally posted by lmalave
Gate's a hero in my eyes, man. I haven't heard ANYONE with his vast wealth say they're going to give away all their money and leave their children only $10 million. That's eminently reasonable, and yet most people are too blinded by lust for wealth to take such a step.

When this happens I'll make a formal apology to Bill, but I'm not putting a lot of faith into his words.
He's your hero, far be it from me to destroy that image... but I guarantee you there's a clause in the foundation that says if Gates ever needs the money he can have it back. That's not charity, that's an illusion.

Fine, we fundamentally disagree on the point.. you think he's great and I don't think he's trying hard enough.

$20bn of his own money? Please show me the link...

He's donating interest, and lets not get into a present worth discussion, thats just weak.

lmalave
Jan 27, 2003, 07:40 PM
Originally posted by cr2sh


When this happens I'll make a formal apology to Bill, but I'm not putting a lot of faith into his words.
He's your hero, far be it from me to destroy that image... but I guarantee you there's a clause in the foundation that says if Gates ever needs the money he can have it back. That's not charity, that's an illusion.

Fine, we fundamentally disagree on the point.. you think he's great and I don't think he's trying hard enough.

$20bn of his own money? Please show me the link...

He's donating interest, and lets not get into a present worth discussion, thats just weak.

Ok - you got it:
"New Economy Giving - Is It Really So New?"
http://www.insidegiving.com/ig2001-08-22g.html

So actually, the amount is $22 Billion. This is a critical article that tries to put the giving of the "New Philanthropists" in historical perspective with Carnegie, Mellon, Ford, Rockefeller, etc., and it's a website about philanthropy, so I would tend to think they're credible.

funkywhat2
Jan 27, 2003, 09:10 PM
Originally posted by lmalave


FYI the U.S. has a low tax burden by world standards.



Regardless, they're still too damn high for many people.

lmalave
Jan 27, 2003, 10:08 PM
Originally posted by funkywhat2


Regardless, they're still too damn high for many people.

Only because of Americans' PROFOUND sense of entitlement. Americans want it all and don't want to pay for it. Americans want good roads, good schools, strong military, cheap gas (HEAVILY subsidized by the federal government), cheap food (also HEAVILY subsidized by the federal government). And don't even get me started about the oldsters who scream bloody murder about Social security when they paid a less than 1% tax, and we're stuck footing their bill at almost 8%. And savings? Naaaawww. They're all, like: we didn't know we had to save - we thought Social Security would take care of us. Which all wouldn't be a problem if American kids took care of their elders like EVERY other culture does :mad:

Gawd I love to rant! :p

Gelfin
Jan 28, 2003, 04:33 PM
Originally posted by lmalave
And don't even get me started about the oldsters who scream bloody murder about Social security when they paid a less than 1% tax, and we're stuck footing their bill at almost 8%. And savings? Naaaawww. They're all, like: we didn't know we had to save - we thought Social Security would take care of us. Which all wouldn't be a problem if American kids took care of their elders like EVERY other culture does :mad:

Thing is, the current state of affairs is a very forseeable consequence of a policy I feel fairly certain you would have agreed to at the time.

During the depression, old people were screwed. Their kids could not afford to take care of them, they couldn't get work, and the pensions their ancestors had relied upon in old age vanished overnight as the companies supplying those pensions crumbled(*).

Social Security came about because the alternative was to let old people starve to death in huge numbers. Because preparations had not been made throughout the oldsters' lives, the money had to come from the current working generation. This wasn't a problem at the time. The retired population was much smaller compared to the working population.

But people started having fewer kids (which seems to be the general trend for developed nations), and medical technology advanced, and now the elderly are the fastest growing segment of our population. In the meantime, because we had Social Security, companies after the Depression generally stopped providing comprehensive pension plans for most workers. And working adults didn't have to switch over and take extraordinary measures to support their elderly relatives, because the government had stepped in and offered a reasonable solution (at the time).

Now we're stuck with it. You can't cut off the elderly, because they haven't made preparations. And besides, if you want to win elections, you don't piss off the elderly. Old people vote, in huge numbers. It's much easier to convince the working adults that the Social Security they pay today is being saved for their own retirement down the road. This is, of course, a bald-faced lie. Whenever you hear someone referring to the "Social Security Trust Fund" that person is lying to you. There is no reserve of money, even on paper, for future Social Security. Social Security depends directly on the ability to take enough from current working adults to pay out benefits to current retired adults. The former population is shrinking. The latter, growing. Thus the percentage which must be appropriated increases rapidly, and will increase more rapidly as time goes on.

The only thing that can possibly rescue us from this mess is the fact that hardly anybody under 35 or so expects they will ever see a dime of Social Security, so they're forced to actually prepare for their own retirements.

This should be a lesson for us in the future. We must be careful when our politicians come up with these brilliant solutions to emergency situations. Social Security should have been temporary, but the designers neglected to include an exit strategy.

(*) Sound familiar? Enron, perhaps? It's important to note that one of the major reforms of the Depression was a law that restricted the same company from providing both auditing and consulting services. That law was stricken during the Reagan administration, at which point Arthur Andersen went into the auditing+consulting business and the rest is history.

lmalave
Jan 28, 2003, 09:51 PM
Originally posted by Gelfin
This should be a lesson for us in the future. We must be careful when our politicians come up with these brilliant solutions to emergency situations. Social Security should have been temporary, but the designers neglected to include an exit strategy.


Don't I know it, man! The most ridiculous thing we have here in New York is rent control, which was implemented as a World War II rationing measure :rolleyes:

Now it's just royally screwed the whole economy here in ways that the city is just starting to recover from. Urban decay in the Bronx and other areas? You can lay the blame squarely on rent control. Landlords that suddenly, by government decree, started losing money on buildings they owned refused to put another dime to maintain their buildings, so the buildings quickly fell into disrepair, and the fact is decrepit buildings very quickly lead to an atmosphere of lawlessness.

And the main beneficiaries? NOT poor folks - most rent controlled apartments are owned by middle class to upper middle class or even rich folks. Even more galling, wealthy Manhattanites that OWN their own condo will often sublet the rent-controlled apartment for a profit :mad: (which is of course blatantly illegal but still common)

And of course these folks screamed bloody murder when politicians suggested discontinuing a freakin' World War II rationing measure. How DARE they? :rolleyes:

It's that sense of entitlement, man - Americans have it like no other people on Earth.

cr2sh
Jan 28, 2003, 10:50 PM
Originally posted by lmalave
Ok - you got it:
"New Economy Giving - Is It Really So New?"
http://www.insidegiving.com/ig2001-08-22g.html

So actually, the amount is $22 Billion. This is a critical article that tries to put the giving of the "New Philanthropists" in historical perspective with Carnegie, Mellon, Ford, Rockefeller, etc., and it's a website about philanthropy, so I would tend to think they're credible.

He gave 20billion to a foundation that I'm sure he has total control over... I pray that this was a real donation though. I can only hope that Bill never finds a need to dismantle this foundation. If I setup a foundation worth 30,000 and donated the yearly interest off of that - I guess I would have still donated 30,000, though all anyone would ever see of it is ~$900 a year.
I'm not sure thats right... I'm not sure what his yearly salary is, but he should be donating 5% to charity (Just a number I like) but then again, so should everyone else.... Microsoft included. The Foundation should be self-sustaining.

That aside, you're right, I concede the point. His foundation is giving a lot of money away, much more than a lot of people... a 'great man' though, still not sure.