Warren Buffet is giving away about 85% of his fortune. Now that certainly makes Warren a very special guy, and the media is fawning over him as if he had discovered a cure for baldness, age spots and body odor in one fell swoop. Nice goin’, Warren, but you are going to be left with – what? About $6 billion and change? Why that’s more than some people make in their entire lives! So it’s not as if you’ve agreed to a pre-mortem organ donation now is it? There’s still going to be a bit left over for the progeny, right?
I heard the nice talking heads on ABC’s Good Morning America yammering about Buffet’s grand gesture. They said he was going to “give back” some of his “winnings.” Now there’s a curious turn of a phrase. You see, all this time I was operating under the clearly mistaken assumption that Warren Buffet had actually earned that money. I thought he worked for it. Now I learn that somehow – somewhere – he actually won it, and now he’s going to give some of it back!
OK, Mr. Buffet, which is it here? Did you earn the money, win it, or was it given to you? ABC can’t seem to make up their minds, so maybe you could help us out here.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle seems to be on this “give back” kick also. In the current issue of this excellent business newspaper there are a few articles detailing research that says Atlanta is going to lead the nation’s metropolitan areas in the creation of new millionaires over the next five years. Sounds like a good time to be living and working in Atlanta, doesn’t it? But wait! It’s not as if these new millionaires are actually going to work for their money. It seems it’s going to be given to them! The lead paragraph in one of the Business Chronicle stores reads: “Multiplying millionaires will dramatically alter the way Atlantans live, shop, bank and give back over the next several years.”
So … there’s that “give back” thing again! It’s everywhere! The July 10th edition of Newsweek Magazine carries the banner “The Giving Back Awards.” The accompanying article details 15 “winners” who are helping other people by “giving back.” The honorees include entrepreneurs such as Pierre Omidyar who built a sizeable fortune what is now known as eBay; Brad Pitt who has earned a few bucks being handsome, and Randy Rusk, a Colorado rancher.
Are you noticing a trend here? Nobody, and especially not the evil rich, is actually earning anything any more. They’re winning! Or, if they’re not winning their fortunes, someone is giving it to them! And let’s not forget former Democrat House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt! Gephardt liked to refer to Americans who worked their spot in the top 20% of income earners as those who “have won life’s lottery.” Yup! It’s the old “winning” theme again.