Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet have together given and pledged more to help the poor of the world than anyone in history before them. This is a remarkable and critical contribution. In my own discussions with those in the public health field, including the dean of Harvard’s School of Public Health, there is tremendous respect and gratitude for what the Gates Foundation is accomplishing.
But consider that Buffet’s pledge to the Gates foundation is 5% per year on about $30B, or about $1.5B per year. The Gates foundation has already been given by Bill and Melinda Gates about $29.1B. Most foudations spend about 5% per year of assets, which would, once again, be about $1.5B per year, plus or minus. With this amount, most observers believe that the Gates Foundation has accomplished a world of good.
But to put these amounts in perspective, the US taxpayers have spent–not invested, but spent–like drawing money from your ATM–about $320B on the Iraq war This is ten times the total amount that the Gates Foundation has in TOTAL ASSETS, and thus vastly more per year than the foundation spends in its work on behalf of the poor. The amount spent–spent–on the Iraq war could have ENDOWED ten Gates Foundations.
The $320B–that is, three hundred and twenty billion dollars–could have been invested in something else. Indeed, almost anything else would have been a better use of the money.
How about education in the United States. Dividing the $320B into the number of states, that would be $6B–that is, six billion dollars–per state. Over a few years. Would that have made a difference in our children’s lives? Yes. Would that have helped the nation’s companies develop educational technology rather than war-fighting technology? Yes. Might that in turn have helped turn us into an educational technology supplier to the world, rather than–as we are today–one of the largest arms dealers?
This all from “the education president.” Oh yea, I forgot, he is now “the war presdent.” You bet your bottom dollar! Hell, this money could have been invested in golf courses and we would all be better off.
Here is a recent summary story of spending for the war, in case you’d like to read it. The dollar amounts are discussed in a report on congress passing a new multi-billion-dollar bill of spending for the war, this week. Here is an excerpt:
Under the law, $65.8 billion will be rushed to the Pentagon so it can continue fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan through
Glad they could “rush” it over! How do you suppose they do that? By armored truck? Or wire transfer?
“I am pleased that Congress has addressed these urgent
national priorities within the spending limits I set,” Bush
said as the Senate passed the measure.
Congress is also advancing separate legislation adding an
additional $50 billion in war funds to keep combat operations
running from October through March or so.
Oh yea, and here is the best part. All our Senators but one voted for the new money! In part this is because the bill combined Hurricane relief with the Iraq war..but then again, who do you suppose constructed the bill in such a politically adept way? The same Senators. This way, the “doves” can say they were forced into voting for the war in order to help the poor folks in New Orleans, and the “hawks” can show they voted to “support the troops.” Oh yea, and “chicken hawks” like Hillary Clinton can play it either way, depending upon the audience and the time. And you don’t think politicians are smart? Think again.
the Bush administration on notice that it would have to improve
its budget planning for the high cost of the Iraq war, which is
nearing $320 billion.
I am not making this stuff up. I’m SOOO glad that our Senate put the administration “on notice” that it would have to improve its budget planning. Wow. LOL