One of the great pillars of liberalism is class warfare—pitting one demographic group of individuals versus another. The most common battle is between the so-called rich versus the middle-class and poor. We’re seeing it now in the current debate over extending the Bush tax cuts.
The rich are often portrayed as evil, heartless, and swimming in greed, seeking only to make more and more money for themselves at the expense of everyone else without a hint of compassion.
Yet again, this stereotype is proving itself wrong, as some of the wealthiest individuals in the United States and abroad are coming together to form an unparalleled philanthropic effort. This effort could result in millions of lives saved and billions of changed lives for the good for years and decades to come.
The effort, labeled “The Giving Pledge” is the brainchild of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and world renowned investor Warren Buffet. The effort is designed such that ultra-wealthy individuals agree to donate a majority of their wealth to various philanthropic causes.
Some of the more than 50 donors who have agreed to the pledge include investor Carl Icahn and AOL co-founder Steve Case. The most recent addition to the group is the 26-year old founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. Over the course of the next several years, this could result in hundreds of billions of dollars being used for a variety of health and education causes, among other efforts, both in the United States and worldwide. To get an idea on the impact that this could have, consider the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Foundation, which was created in 1994, gave away $3 billion in 2009 and, since its inception, has donated nearly $24 billion to various causes in America and abroad. Of these efforts, some $14 billion has been given to support a number of global health initiatives, including the prevention and fighting of HIV/AIDS, primarily in Africa, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and malaria prevention and treatment, and other efforts to fight devastating diseases. Thousands of lives have likely been saved by the Foundation’s vaccination programs against some of the most deadly diseases the world has ever known.
Bill and Melinda Gates, Warrant Buffet, and the other billionaire donors realize that this wealth can save and enhance lives around the world. Granted they are extremely wealthy, but to agree to give away a majority of your wealth is still quite a gesture and it flies in the face of the often propagated notion that the rich just hoard all their wealth at the expense of everyone else.
In fact, according to a recent report from Barclays Capital, the wealthy of the United States are the most charitable individuals among a number of developed nations and were ranked number three among other countries in the time spent on charitable causes.
The research shows that the rich, as a whole, are not what they are portrayed to be by the American Left. Wealthy Americans are interested in giving back via philanthropic efforts to various causes in which they believe make a difference in their communities, nation, and the world.
So, when Democrats laud the necessity of taxing the rich because “they can afford it”, they fail to realize or more likely simply ignore the idea that increasing the taxation on the rich could and probably will result in less funds being donated to charitable causes. Who, then is most disadvantaged by the drop in charitable giving? It is none other than the poor who are the typical benefactors of charitable organizations.
Simply put, the wealthy of this nation want to help their fellow man and believe that this is best accomplished through philanthropic giving and involvement. There is no need to continue expanding government services for those in need of help. Would it not be more logical for the government to get out of the way and let the wealthy divert more funds towards philanthropic organizations and then let these organizations, which tend to be much more efficient than government programs, do what they do best?
Chad Stafko is a writer and political consultant living in the Midwest. He can be reached at [email protected]