As the world's political and economic elite gather to discuss their top concerns at the annual Davos summit in the Swiss Alps and with attention this week focused on the scourge of economic inequality, a new report begs key questions about the potentially disastrous role the super-wealthy are playing when it comes to addressing key problems of global inequity, endemic poverty, and international development.
If Bill and Melinda really care about social and economic justice, all they have to do is to put Global Justice Now in charge of the BMGF. That would meet head-on the valid criticisms raised in this article and would prove they have intentions that transcend tax savings for Microsoft.
“now a mere 16 individual billionaires, including Bill Gates, own more wealth than the 3.6 billion people”
The wrong number is reported here by mistake.
i logged in to note the same typo.
The actual (obscenely tiny) number of super-rich at the tippy-top of their pyramid, whose wealth (according to the Oxfam report) equals that of the poorest half of humanity, is 62, not 16.
Almost four times as many. But still, i think we can take 'em…
Expansion of billionaires’ foundation is just one example of the fallout from 1986 tax reform (that the Democrats continue to brag about being a bipartisan effort), the most regressive tax reform in history. 1986 reform included limiting charitable contribution deductions to businesses and individuals who itemize deductions. Previously anybody filing a return could deduct contributions. Consequently, since 1986 the few taxpayers who itemize and corporations have determined which charities get the most charitable contributions.
Obama keeps telling us that tax reform in the spirit of 1986 reform is one of his highest priorities for his final year in office.
Take note of the slogan on the side of the podium: “Reach Every Child” What was he promoting: charter schools, vouchers and the Common Core curricula, perhaps?
When using the term “education,” the writer of the article should add the qualifier “private” in front of it. The way it is stated leads one to believe that Gates and his foundation support public education, which is not the case. Gates and his foundation’s money helped to ram through the charter school initiative in Washington State even though it ran counter to the state’s Constitution (Public funds cannot be used for private schools). The illegality of the initiative was upheld by the state Supreme Court. As an added note, the first two charter schools that opened subsequent to the passage of the Charter School Initiative (it took two election cycles to ram it through), audits of the schools’ financial spreadsheets/budgets and oversight of their classroom practices including teacher certifications revealed misuse of more than a quarter million$$$ (each school has to pay back the state $250,000 and $200,000 respectively) and lack of teacher certifications. The budgets submitted to the state were grossly inflated. Gates never attended a public school from kindergarten through university having been the child of millionaire parents (mother was from “Old Seattle Money” and his attorney father’s firm is one of the largest and most powerful lobbying groups in the U. S.).
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
“[L]ong term solutions require social and economic justice”: Exactly right. This is why it has been said that the greatest charity is not to need it at all.
Well, I suppose since “No child left behind” has been discredited the Gates thought to simply repackage the farce and no one would notice. Right.
The most regressive tax reform for the poor and middle class. Also, interest on all debt was deductible if you met the requirements for a schedule A instead of the standard deduction.
I’m not criticizing you, just throwing in my 2 cents.
Should he label the repackaging :the no child left a dime program ?
Taken as such !
Is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation promoting the interests of
multinational corporations at the expense of social and economic
It’s about time someone questioned the “philanthropic intents” of the Gates Foundation. Bill Freaking Gates has some peculiar ideas (Common Core Curriculum to teach “to the test” and create “good workers”, bizarre geo-engineering schemes that dump iron filings in the oceans and sulphate particles in the skies, aiding GMO companies in taking over the agriculture of entire countries, micro-loans to poor people - which is not charity, but a way to tease some interest income out of even the most impoverished, etc.), and he is allowed to inflict these odd and anti-human personal beliefs and goals on millions of captive people. This doesn’t happen because the little people like what he is selling, but because the governments and aid groups accept his “charity” on behalf of the people and cram it down their throats.
The same thing happens with the Clinton Foundation, which supports Monsanto above all other corporations and which takes “donations” from the Help Haiti Fund, mingled amongst the donations from the big banks and oil companies. (Want to know where all the billions donated to Haiti went? The Clintons have it.) There is also the oddity that the Gates’ donate to the Clintons and the Clintons donate back to the Gates’, which looks an awful lot like a charitable-deduction scam, if you ask me.
I have no doubt that the world envisioned by these corporate whores masquerading as charities benefits someone, but it is not us or the world at large. These “charities” are merely the way rich people gain control and power over large swathes of peoples, lands, and industries without the hassle of running for political office.
Here is the quote from the report:
Oxfam has calculated that:
•In 2015, just 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.6 billion people – the bottom half of humanity. This figure is down from 388 individuals as recently as2010.
•The wealth of the richest 62 people has risen by 44% in the five years since2010 – that’s an increase of more than half a trillion dollars ($542bn), to $1.76trillion.
•Meanwhile, the wealth of the bottom half fell by just over a trillion dollars in the same period – a drop of 41%.
•Since the turn of the century, the poorest half of the world’s population has received just 1% of the total increase in global wealth, while half of that increase has gone to the top 1%.
•The average annual income of the poorest 10% of people in the world has risen by less than $3 each year in almost a quarter of a century. Their daily income has risen by less than a single cent every year.
When Bill Gates cashed out of MicroSoft for 60 billion, one third - $20B - was due in taxes. He decided to take that $20B and start a charity instead of giving it to the American government in taxes where the Congress could buy (and probably would) 2 Trident Subs and 1/2 an aircraft carrier.
What do think has benefited the world more? Regardless of the questions raised in the article about the appropriateness of his charity selections, what has helped people more than hurt them?
I could not find more than $50 in donations to help 600K senior citizens who worked all their lives to build equity in their homes, only to lose those homes in foreclosure on their scam “reverse mortgages” owing to the 2008 financial crisis. The gov took a huge hit on that, and banks got off scott free! Settlements returned some funds to big investors, but the old folks were left out in the cold. On top of that many other thousands of innocent people lost their home investments. Maybe some of them didn’t have homes very long, but the old folks lost their life time of investment.
There are a lot of things billionaires could do for society, but we can be sure they will “give” only in some manner that feeds their own egos and consciences, and they have little or no empathy for the average working citizens who have been victims of corporate and banking oppression. What is the point of being rich if you can’t see a lot of people you can look down upon?
I would rather just have the government take their money away because it is obvious they have been overpaid for their contributions to society, and we should not have to think of their money as “charity” in any event.