Doing Unto the Least of These

Warren Buffett Gets It.

Bill and Melinda Gates Get It.

Some other people around the country of wealth and means Get It.

Would that many other people around the country of wealth and means would Get It.

I'm talking, of course, about the announcement that Mr. Buffett made recently of his decision to dedicate most of his vast fortune to charity. To the tune of well over $30 billion (with a "b") bucks. As in, "I'm going to put this money to work helping society instead of simply buying (yawn!) another yacht."

Now, there's no guarantee that large amounts of this money will actually go to helping the plight of the American poor. Some quick research on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (who'll get the lion's share of the Buffett endowment) website shows that over 50% of their grants go to addressing "global health issues" (meaning, diseases overseas). Still, for guys like Gates and Buffett, who are awash in cash, to even notice that there are people struggling out here with less than a fraction of the resources they have, is absolutely awesome.

In fact, in light of the rant I posted yesterday, maybe someone with more socioeconomic persuasiveness than I have can approach these guys about funding some of the local Individual Development Account programs around the country (yes, including Guilford County). What an investment that would make; the Gates Foundation funds IDAs, then program participants use the money accrued to open a business that helps others get ahead. Or secure higher education that allows them to teach the next generation of entrepreneurs and fund providers. That's the gift that keeps on giving.

Messrs. Gates and Buffett, if by some freak chance you're reading this, my hat's off to you both. You're rich guys who acknowledge that there are poor guys trying to become rich guys. You Get It.

The rest of you million/billionaires: It's past time you got off your lazy buttocks and got to work showing society that you do indeed have a sense of responsibility. And no, I'm not talking skinning the top back on your little Jag convertible so everybody can see you and be awed*. Or chasing a ball around a court and acting like you're entitled. Or having a kid as a fashion statement or a means to get your next movie role. Or "singing" about topics that shame your mother and then bragging about how many drugs you've dealt or times you've been shot. I'm talking about Doing Unto the Least Of These (see Matthew 25:40).

You better get moving; Bill and Warren are making y'all look awful bad.

*Actually, whenever I see someone gliding down the street in his Jag with the top skinned back, my first thought is along the lines of: "I wonder how many poor kids had to starve to death so he could play with his little sports car?"

When I see wealthy folks I wonder how many jobs they have created with their creative abilities?

When I see wealthy folks I wonder how many thousands have they paid to the IRS to help pay the expenses for all of us? I think I recall reading that the top few percent pay the bulk of the taxes in this country.

I particulary enjoy the true self made millionaire that started with nothing and built a large company that employs many people who then can provide for their families.

I think you need to rethink this subject.

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Rich people and their fans.....

If you pay thousands to the IRS, are a self made maillionaire that started with nothing and built a mult-million dollar company, I applaud you, but you have an obligation as a DECENT HUMAN BEING to help others. But SOME of them don't.

Some of them have family members who are unemployed through no fault of their own, who have valuable skills, and they don't even offer them a job in the crappiest department in their huge BILLION DOLLAR organization. Don't make me name names. Afterall, it's not THEIR problem now is it?

Money talks, and bullshit walks. In the case of those with money it appears they do both. They can AFFORD to. I accept it, and believe that God is my provider.

In the meantime I will continue my own struggle, taking photgraphs and selling them where and when I can. I am not mad at the rich people, because they have money. They can't take it with them that is for damn sure. *chuckles*

Michael has a good mind and I like what he has to say. I will not stop reading his blog because it has been interperted by some, that he has insulted people with money. Keep on writing Michael!
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I have been reading your blog for a while and am glad that you have housing. I know that it is not ideal housing. But it is housing. you aren't homeless anymore. No, you may not be climbing up the economic ladder but you are more fortunate than some others. You have clean water to drink. You have a roof over your head. You have some sort of job, albeit one that doesn't really allow you to support your family.

I know that it is difficult to see but there are people who are worse off than you. While it may be preferable to some that people donate to domestic causes that may help better their own economy, that money may be better placed elsewhere. It may not help you personally but it will help people in Africa get things like medicine for HIV or vaccines that will help keep them alive.

It may be really difficult to see given your current situation, but there are people who are more desparate than you are. I understand that as a "middle class" citizen it may be easy to throw stones at me. However, I have volunteered at homeless shelters. I do what I can to make my piece of the world better. Are you? You may not have the time or money to donate on a regular basis, but are you doing small things to make your little corner of the world better? Those small things add up and do make a difference.

Oh, I also really liked your piece about the guy who lives under the bridge. It would be interesting to hear more people's stories. That may help your readers understand the complexities of homelessness.
You have clean water to drink.

Money talks, and bullshit walks.Money talks, and bullshit walks.Money talks, and bullshit walks.Money talks, and bullshit walks. And My back hurts!

Actually those were the only comments worth reading. Your blog comment section is starting to look like the O'Reilly Factor.
Look, my point was simply that the money being donated might be going to help someone even worse off than Michael (and that there are people worse off). I wholeheartedly believe that more people should help the less fortunate in their local area.

I am also not saying that his situation doesn't suck. It does. He has an incredibly difficult life. He has many issues to deal with that most people dont' have to. I acknowledge that and think that he is trying to make his life better. It is incredibly difficult. I was just trying to offer an alternate view on life.

I see great value in giving money to help people in Africa who have to walk hours each day for water to drink that may be contaminated. There are many people in the world who unfortunately aren't having basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter being met. It is a global problem as has been shown by the global readership of this blog.

With the amount of wealth that Gates and Buffet have I think a lot of the social problems could be helped.

As a political aside, I don't think that Gates "gets it." Yes he donates a lot of money to worthy causes and has set up a foundation. However, his business practices are sketchy and haven't really helped build economies. There is a lot more that he could easily do to help the American economy and disadvantaged that he doesn't do.
A person makes a million dollars and pays $300,000 in taxes. If he/she does nothing else...take a moment and reflect on the contribution he has made to our government as compared to the couple earning a combined income of $60,000 who pay...how much... $10 -15,000.

A person lives in a one million dollar home in Greensboro pays a minimum of $10,000 in local taxes. If he/she does nothing else...take a moment and reflect on the contribution he has made to our city.

It is a very small percentile of our country that pays for the bulk of all public services.

I believe the above defines a descent human being as far as the earlier comments go.

You want better services locally then promote your cause to your local politicians and have them raise our taxes to pay for the services needed. The rich will pay more than the rest to handle the need.

If you disagree..fine...give us facts.
Bill Gates, isn't he the guy that stole from his former employer to amass a fortune. Gates has made sure he could cut out anyone else wanting to make money with computers by creating a monopoly. By generously donating computers to schools, he was assuring children would grow up knowing how to use his machines. By constantly changing the product (not better in most instances) he earns mo' money forcing people to upgrade. Because he is one of those individuals that can buy the right to run the government, (thus people), he can get laws passed that benefit him and the super wealthy, at the expense of the Middle class. Non profit or charitble organizations is one of the many tax shelters rich use to get richer. If Mr Buffet truly wanted to help the needy, he would donate to the poor organizations, such as shelters for abused women and children, rather than to someone that has tons of money.

As far as creating jobs, tis' true people like Hoffman/La Roche, other extreme wealthy people, get a lot of their wealth creating jobs with their creativity (and trying to monopolize) and by not paying living wages. One would think a pharmecutical company would care enough about employees health to give medical insurance, rather than hiring part time, so they won't be legally responsible to provide it, yet having the employee work 50 or 60 hours a week.

I haven't visited the Gate's charity site, but I never see Mr Gates in shirt sleeves helping Habitat for Humanity to build houses for the poor. I've seen basketball players serve food to the homeless (Phoenix), walked with a baseball player to raise funds for children's summer camp, to teach anti-hate, (Long Beach) read about bike-a-thons, shooting hoops, and other charitable deeds done by sports figures. Maybe I don't get it, but I don't think Buffett gets it either.
A man gives 30 +billion dollars to help the world which = 30,000 stacks of million dollars and there are those that will still criticize. He also has given to many other charities.

Gates changes the planet with DOS and Windows with Apple and a couple of others out there as competition. He chooses to step down from his day to day MSFT operation to devote more time to the philanthropic causes...and there are folks ready to take aim with a couple of more rocks.
Do I believe that Gates cornered the market whenever he could? Yes. Is he human and does he make mistakes?
Yes...he thought the internet would never take off...smile He missed that one and is still the richest on the planet.

I can only shake my head in wonder.

How about we go and do a little research and study what they have done for others before we take aim?

How about we champion both sides of our gut instinct opinion or first impression? I make so many errors that the only way I can improve is to challenge that I have it wrong.

I don't know about you but I like the cup half full every time over the cup half empty. We control this.....don't we?

Good luck.

PS...with regard to being forced to pay taxes...my humble opinion is that when a person earns over $250,000 per year they make a choice as to weather to work harder, pay more taxes or ease up. The higher the tax the more likely they choose to be content with a lower income.
Who loses? We do of course. In order for many wealthy people to earn more more more....they have to expand expand expand and hire more people. How about we tax them less when they make over a million? I wonder if they are not much smarter with money than the IRS. When was the last time the IRS made anything?

Ok..so we tax them less...will the rich give more to charity? Who cares if everyone is working and doing well and is self enabled.
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