Recently, a rather sizable number of high profile mega-billionaires announced an intention to donate most of their net worths to charity. Very commendable. Or was it?
More than 30 U.S billionaires have pledged to give at least half of their fortunes to charity as part of a campaign spearheaded by Warren Buffett, the investor, and Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder.
The list of those signing up, posted on The Giving Pledge’s website, includes such notables as Michael Bloomberg, New York’s mayor, Ted Turner, the media mogul, Barry Diller, the chief executive of IAC, and David Rockefeller.
The financial sector is well represented, with former Citigroup chairman Sandy Weill and his wife Joan, David Rubenstein, the co-founder of the Carlyle Group, Pete Peterson, the co-founder of the Blackstone Group, Ron Perelman, the investor, and Julian Robertson, the hedge fund manager, on the list.
Ok, so what could my beef with this, oh so generous act, possibly be? Well, many of these folks are politically active and have tended to be supporters of higher taxes and bigger government. Mr. Buffett supported Hillary Clinton in 2008. Moderate Republican Michael Bloomberg is viewed as a possible future Presidential candidate. George Soros and Ted Turner are ardent Democrats.
Now, if they love Uncle Sam so much, why don't they pledge their assets to help lower the budget deficit? After all, charities and the Federal Government are BOTH involved in wealth distribution. So, why would they prefer a PRIVATE solution? Mr. Buffett just LOVES higher taxes for everyone but himself. So does Mr. Soros.
But the rich do gooders have so many ways to entertain us. Take John Kerry, married to the heiress of the Heinz ketchup fortune. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is docking his family's new $7 million yacht in neighboring Rhode Island, allowing him to avoid paying roughly $500,000 in taxes to the cash-strapped Bay State.
If the "Isabel" were kept at the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee's summer vacation home on Nantucket, or in Boston Harbor near his city residence, he would be liable for $437,500 in one-time sales tax. He would also have to pay $70,000 in annual excise taxes. Now that Mr. Kerry has been exposed, he has had to cough up the half million.
And, what rundown of political hypocrisy would be complete without mentioning Al Gore. Mr. Global Warming. For more on how idiotic this theory is, click here: http://markostake.blogspot.com/2010/08/very-inconvenient-truth.html.
Since "An Inconvenient Truth" won an academy award, we can assume that he lives a completely green lifestyle, correct? Uh, not exactly.
The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh, more than 20 times the national average!
Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh, or more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.
Since the release of his documentary, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.
Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year. Very convenient, indeed, Mr. Gore.
How about House Ways And Means chairman Charles Rangel being caught for evading income taxes? And, of course Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner have tax evasion issues of his own?
Sarah Palin, while governor of Alaska, passed a windfall profits tax. Hello????
Now, before we depart without recognizing more of our friends on the Republican side of the aisle, let's compliment the "family values" of folks like Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay, and lots of others. Yeah, hypocrisy is very bi-partisan.
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.