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Warren Buffet Giving Away Almost Everything

Warren Buffet Charities Gates Foundation 2006

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#1 GoldenCoal

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 01:01 PM

According to Fortune magazine, Warren Buffet is set to give away 85% of his Berkshire Hathaway stock to charities, most notably the Bill and Malinda Gates foundation.

http://money.cnn.com...dex.htm?cnn=yes

   On one hand, 15% of 40 billion is still a ton of money, but on the other hand I think that this is something to be admired. Giving away 85% of one's fortune while still alive is incredible anyway. I wonder what the rest of the world thinks about this.

#2 Godeskian

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 01:22 PM

Good for him, he's one of my personal heroes.

You know, everyone keeps ragging on the rich for being greedy, while ignoring the 700 million Bill Gates gives away every year, or the billions someone like Warren Buffet gives away.

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#3 HeroicFool

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 01:39 PM

What a tool.

Handing over money to a charity is to throw half of it in the garbage.

If someone was really out to spread charity rather than getting their name in the papers they'd walk up to a homeless person, hand them 200g's in a handbag and walk away.

Edited by HeroicFool, 25 June 2006 - 01:40 PM.

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#4 Spectacles

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 01:44 PM

You go, Warren Buffet! :)

Buffet argued against the Bush tax cuts, by the way, arguing that they disproportionately benefitted the wealthy and provided little stimulus. He also spoke out against the estate tax cuts.

After Buffet wrote an op-ed criticizing tax cuts, he was, naturally, razzed in the National Review: http://www.nationalr...moore052203.asp

Quote

This country is fortunate to have a man as rational and successful as Warren Buffett. But he is one of a kind. Any effect legislation has on Buffett is irrelevant. If he doesn’t want the tax cut, which could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars for him, we urge him to return it to the Treasury, or better yet, a conservative charity.

:D

Well, OK, I don't know that he gave the money to a conservative charity, but give it to charity he did.

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#5 Balderdash

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 02:33 PM

View PostHeroicFool, on Jun 25 2006, 11:39 AM, said:

What a tool.

Handing over money to a charity is to throw half of it in the garbage.

If someone was really out to spread charity rather than getting their name in the papers they'd walk up to a homeless person, hand them 200g's in a handbag and walk away.

I used to give money to homeless people until I saw how they spent it.  I'd rather give them shelter and food and clothes and healthcare through an organization then watch them spend the money on drugs or alcohol.

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#6 HeroicFool

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 02:59 PM

It's arrogance to decide for another human being how they should live or how they should spend money that you give them freely.  If you want to control everything then charity probably isn't for you.

The best you can do is to get out of the way and let people be who and what they want to be.  Too much interference breeds contempt and hatred, it doesn't help the people to pull themselves out of the mire.   In the end no one can do that but themselves and they have to make that decision for themselves.

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#7 Godeskian

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 03:04 PM

View PostHeroicFool, on Jun 25 2006, 08:59 PM, said:

A true gift comes from the heart with no strings attached and no newspapers present.

Nice sentiment but utterly impractical when we are talking about more than 30 billion dollars. He could have wanted to do it as quietly as it gets, and it would still make front pages of several business papers not to mention world press.

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#8 HeroicFool

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 03:07 PM

Not at 200k a pop anonymously on the street.

Wouldn't even take all that long.
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#9 Godeskian

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 03:21 PM

View PostHeroicFool, on Jun 25 2006, 09:07 PM, said:

Not at 200k a pop anonymously on the street.

Wouldn't even take all that long.

Right, because no-one at all would notice one of the richest men in america running around the slums of a city handing out briefcases full of cash and report it.

by the by, welcome back HF, haven't seen you around here for a long time.

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#10 GoldenCoal

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 03:30 PM

^^
  I suppose if he gave the job to a trusted subordinate...

  In any case, if you look closely, you'll see that the charities either go to: Bill Gate's charity or charities run by his children.  The Bill and Malinda Gates foundation also funds research for diesese prevention, something that you couldn't do if you were handing money out to people on the street. So I I don't think he's seeing it as going into the trash.

  Also, in my mind, charities don't seem to be out there to help people but rather situations. Whether that's the right thing to do or not is another debate entirely, though.

#11 Captain Jack

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 05:34 PM

There's one heck of a tax write-off.
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#12 Hibblette

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 09:36 PM

Actually they can give and it never be reported.

They hire publicist to make sure things are told and things are not.

We don't know what these celebs with scads of money do all the time-it just seems that way-we only hear about them when they want us too.
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#13 HeroicFool

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 11:15 PM

LOL, I am so surprised to return and find out that nobody ran those numbers and figured out it would take about 40 years to get rid of the money if you gave 200k to 10 people a day.

Ah well, I'll live with the disappointment.  ;)

OK, here's really my point here...

Assume you have 30b and you REALLY want to help people in a humanitarian way.

Which does more good for the poor and which does more good for yourself....

Give it all to a charity...  half goes *poof* and is never seen again as you pay the overhead.  Then the other half is filtered to hundreds of thousands of places that do the real work of providing for the poor.   The poor get a few free meals and a place to stay for a little while.   The poor are where they started not much after that.

What does the giver get?   He gets worldwide acclaim as a philanthropist.  People love him and sing his praises wherever he goes.  He gets one hell of a tax writeoff and he goes on living the exact same lifestyle he was living previously on the rest of his billions.   Not too shabby.

The other option is to give the money directly to the poor on the down low.  Let's say 200k a shot.  That helps 150,000 people buy modest houses and get back on their feet.  A true second chance at life off the streets.  Some will fail again, but some will do quite well.  Many thousands of people have better lives, directly attributable to the man that gave them the money.

Positive side for the giver...  No tax break, no press releases and world acclaim and it's all over...

Which is better?

Just think of what some genuinely good soul like Mother Theresa could have done with 40b.  I wonder how much money she died with...  

Will most poor even know about this boon they have supposedly received?  Probably not.

It's a generous gift, but it's one that gives back more to the giver than those that are supposed to have received.

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#14 Shalamar

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 11:25 PM

Actually he can't just realistically go around giving it to whomever he wants with no consequences - he'd lose the tax break for one, and end up paying a tax on what he gave away - in the US if you give some one more than $10k a year as a 'gift' you have to report it and pay tax on the more than 10k...( I may be off on the dollar figure )

Edited by Shalamar, 25 June 2006 - 11:29 PM.

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#15 HeroicFool

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 11:28 PM

^^  Exactly...

Something I was gonna mention, but thought it went too far with the piling on...

It's another reason the move was more self serving than caring.
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#16 Shalamar

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 11:31 PM

I see it as some of both. The money is going to help others, and he gets to not only feel good but look good - which in the end I have no problem with.
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#17 HeroicFool

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 11:48 PM

Show me the people that actually get real help at the end of the day and I'll agree with you...

What do people in need get for 40b these days?
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#18 Captain Jack

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 11:57 PM

I need $1 million dollars.  :D  Can he write me a check?
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#19 Themis

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 09:32 AM

HF, you keep talking about the "poor."  Don't forget that "charities" also include places doing research on diseases, scholarships, schools, humanitarian relief in Africa, religious institutions (not my personal choice), free clinics, hospitals and many, many other entities.  I also wouldn't hand money directly to a homeless person.  Too great a chance the money would go to drugs or alcohol.  Maybe gift certificates to a restaurant so you'd know it would go for food.  Maybe several months' rent at a residential hotel/motel.  Directly to Habitat for Humanity.   Misfortune can play a part, but most homeless people didn't get to be homeless by being good at managing money.  

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#20 Nialla

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 09:49 AM

My library was a beneficiary of money from the Gates Foundation back in 2000. The grant we received allowed us to install four computers for public use, another one as a server, a networked printer, as well as software and all the wiring to hook everything together.

This year, we're the recipient of a second grant from the foundation. Five public use computers and software -- no extras for wiring or anything this time though. But we're certainly not complaining.  :hehe:

Our computers get over 200 uses a month in a town with less then 2,000. If we had more space, we'd have more computers and even more use. But maybe Buffet's money can give me a million for the new building we're trying to fund, which will include a small computer lab where I'll finally have space to teach classes? ;)

Some users are seeking jobs and they can log into their Workforce Commission info from our computers instead of driving a half-hour to go to their office or email their resume to various potential jobs (it's even more important to save driving time with gas so high now). Some might even have net access at home, but in the rural area immediately outside town, you can only get straight dial-up unless you've got $$$ to connect to a wireless service, which can be frustrating if you've got a lot of searching to do.

I'm also impressed with the Gates Foundation working on disease prevention, especially in Africa. A friend of mine is a nurse in France, and has gone on "missions" in Africa with groups like Doctors Without Borders before. We take a lot of disease prevention for granted, but they don't have access (or money) to prevent a lot of common diseases.

I think it's interesting that Buffet is essentially donating to other foundations instead of his own. You don't see that sort of thing very often, though I have seen foundations work together to pool money for projects, especially if they're small foundations. They can get more "bang for the buck" that way.
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