Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Warren Buffett Would Make a Very Bad Republican

Warren Buffett, My Philanthropic Pledge (44KB PDF):
My wealth has come from a combination of living in America, some lucky genes, and compound interest. Both my children and I won what I call the ovarian lottery. (For starters, the odds against my 1930 birth taking place in the U.S. were at least 30 to 1. My being male and white also removed huge obstacles that a majority of Americans then faced.

My luck was accentuated by my living in a market system that sometimes produces distorted results, though overall it serves our country well. I've worked in an economy that rewards someone who saves the lives of others on a battlefield with a medal, rewards a great teacher with thank-you notes from parents, but rewards those who can detect the mispricing of securities with sums reaching into the billions. In short, fate's distribution of long straws is wildly capricious.

The reaction of my family and me to our extraordinary good fortune is not guilt, but rather gratitude. Were we to use more than 1% of my claim checks on ourselves, neither our happiness nor our well-being would be enhanced. In contrast, that remaining 99% can have a huge effect on the health and welfare of others. That reality sets an obvious course for me and my family: Keep all we can conceivably need and distribute the rest to society, for its needs. My pledge starts us down that course.
Real Republicans, on the other hand, know that a free market economy and unrestrained, unregulated markets have unsurpassed wisdom. All sorts of bad things, from the BP oil spill, to the housing bubble, to the conniptions of the financial markets, would have never happened if we'd just leave Britney the captains of industry alone. After all, what's the point of being a white American male if you can't have more stuff than everyone else?

1 comment:

maureen said...

Warren Buffet always seemed like a decent guy, even with his mega-gazillion dollars. This restores some of my faith in mega-gazillionaires. He's right, of course.