If Rich People Really Wanted to Help, They'd Pay More in Taxes



I've been saying that for years.

Wealthy people prefer charities over giving more to government for a few reasons. Getting more public adoration is just one benefit. A huge reason is that, even though the wealthy have almost complete control over the government anyway, they can have definite complete control over private charities. Government corruption can be hidden, but it's much, much easier to hide private charity corruption. Finally, the wealthy love the control they have over WHO receives their so-called charity. Giving more in taxes doesn't always guarantee that their money won't be spent on "undesirables," whereas they can ensure only their chosen serfs benefit from private charities.

It's too bad that the wealthy and powerful have corrupted charitable giving, but you know, that's what wealthy people do; corrupt things.


Is there an argument to say that charitable donations are more effective altruism than taxes, given that 15c on the federal tax dollar would be pissed up the wall on military adventurism?

Not to mention that if I wanted to support, say, safe abortion providers, 0c on the federal tax dollar will be spent that way. A charitable donation is targetable by the donor in a way that a tax dollar isn’t.


" Giving money away is all fine and good, but paying your taxes is the pledge we really should be saluting."

Good point. Rather than directly fund charitable organizations, let's instead put arrange for that funding to be allocated by the Republican lead Congress. What could go wrong?


"her money will be going"

This is the problem with the left, you're financially illiterate.

It's not money, it assets she's getting.


Philanthropy is capitalism's greatest reward.


The lack of faith in public institutions and the slavish belief in the wisdom of the wealthy are the twin stars of American fatalism. We can’t solve our problems. We have to let the rich people pretend to solve them.

Our problems (the real ones, not the photogenic ones) are collective. Mass extinction and global climate catastrophe don’t bend to individual will. Our impulse is to beat them into submission, but they’re only solved by acting in harmony, collectively. We don’t do that anymore.


Rich people want power and control. That's why they 'give to charities' and cheat on taxes. Putting money into charitable foundations still give them control over how this money is used, and gives them power over how things are run in society. Look at the Gates Foundation and their influence on how public money for education is spent!


Check out the smartypants @6 and feel sorry for yourself, everyone. The guy who has nothing better to do with his life than create multiple burner sockpuppets every day knows her wealth is tied up in stocks and material assets she will have to sell off before she can donate her money to charity. How dumb do you feel now?


Have you considered they don't want to help?


@12 - I’m not sure you’re not proving his point for him. Let’s use the Nazis to put government competence into fairer perspective. Before it got overzealous, the Third Reich mobilized a massive governmental program to annex almost all of continental Europe. Its global progress was only halted by an equally massive government mobilization undertaken by the US and the UK. Before and after the war, massive government programs in the US ushered in an era of incredible prosperity and economic expansion. In the years after the war, government programs run by the USSR and the US launched humanity into space.

Meanwhile, further to “Ken’s” point, free enterprise brought us soul-sucking solipsism in convenient pocket-size form. It also managed to come within a whisker’s breadth of causing worldwide economic collapse through oligopoly and garden-variety fraud back in 2008. The only thing that saved us then? A massive government program (TARP, CARP, LARP - whatever it was called in the end). Meanwhile, private enterprise gave us the jobless recovery. Workforce participation has never fully recovered.

Conclusion: “Ken Mehlman” is an unhelpful, over-generalizing idiot.


@17 you didn’t read the post or the comments did you


“her wealth is tied up in stocks and material assets she will have to sell off before she can donate her money to charity.”

No she won’t. The assets will be put in a trust that the charities will draw from either through dividend payments or occasional sales. They will be the assets that keep on giving as long as Amazon does well. If she sold off all this amazon stock for cash tomorrow, the value of AMZN would crash.



"Its global progress was only halted by an equally massive government mobilization undertaken by the US and the UK."

I feel like there might be a country missing from that list? Like maybe they called it "The Western Front" because there was some other front somewhere? Where an allied country took more than ten times the military casualties as the US and the UK combined (and lost 15000% more civilians)?

The rest seems right, though.


@20 - No offense to the millions of Russians, Ukrainians, and other Soviet peoples who gave their lives to defeat the Nazis, but the story of the eastern front was one of tremendous human sacrifice precipitated by horrific incompetence and callous disregard by Soviet authorities for the lives of their own people. Even under Trump, our government doesn’t warrant that comparison, so I intentionally didn’t make it. I consider that kind of false equivalency more of a “Ken Mehlman” move.


Sorry couldn't get past this part, "Bezos, who is worth an estimated $36 billion thanks to her marriage to/divorce from Giant Balls Jeff, is one of the wealthiest individuals on the planet."

No, she started/created a hugely profitable business with her husband. Aside from taking whatever time off to be with their children, she was totally in it.

She didnt get " his money" in the divorce, she got her half. One would think Katie would acknowledge that.
On second thought....



I know and care little of the founding of the company. But JB is certainly always reported as it's founder, and is also worth a shitload more than $72 billion.


I noticed The Stranger didn't mention Shillary and Swill Clinton. Oh, no, of course not! Everybody loooooves them! Yechhh! I can't stand the Clintons, the Trumps, the Bushes (although I do enjoy bush), Bernie Bland-Sanders...and especially Jeff Bozo. All of them need to be dumped in burlap sacks weighted down with cement blocks and tossed into a raging river.



Probably because the Clintons, the Bushes, and Bernie Sanders are not wealthy compared to Bezos, Gates, and Buffett.

It's not really a political post, it's a wealth post.

It would have made more sense to instead talk about the disgusting Walton family.


Oops, my post @26 was meant as a response to 25, not 20.


At least the Ms Bezos / Gates / Soros / Buffet of the world are trying to do good (while the Koch brothers who are intent on dragging us backwards), but what about the vastly larger number of us with 6-figure incomes and a few million in assets? The marginal tax rate on the very wealthiest has a minimal effect (and apparently a majority of the hyper-wealthy ARE trying to spend their money well). I'd focus on those of us who have more than enough money to 1) buy any reasonable house, 2) get a new car every year, and 3) send all their children to any university in the country. How much more money than that do you need?!? Marginal tax rates of 50%, 60%, 70% for incomes of 500,000, $1M, and $2M a year will produce far more revenues than taking everything from the few at the top and defuse (a tiny bit of) the angst about Eisenhower-ear / Swedish 90% tax rates.

This tax policy would seem to hurt me, except I'd rather live in a more fair and equal society just as I feel safer walking through the worst neighborhood in the Netherlands than I do an average US neighborhood.


Fuck The Poor. If I was rich. I wouldn't want no one trying to tell me what to do with MY Money


@22: Even the articles desperate (as you are) to claim that Mackenzie and Jeff shared a 50/50 role in the founding of Amazon have to admit that her "role" was leaving her already privileged life to move across the country so Jeff could found Amazon.

Although, one article did say that a anonymous source told them that Mackenzie once helped write some checks, so there is that I suppose.


It is such a bummer when people generally reasonable political views (i.e. it would be better if the rich supported public works more) produce stories like this that undermine all credibility. It is absurd to complain about Jeff when he simply follows the tax code. There are no taxes on wealth for him to pay or avoid. His “income” is trivial ($165,000 like all Amazon leaders) and he surely pays taxes on that. Plus he makes money when he sells Amazon stock (which he does a often) and presumably pays capital gains on that. Yes, he established Amazon in WA and supports its regressive tax code, but the existence of that tax code isn’t exactly his fault or the fault of any wealthy individual. Oh yes, and the people implying that Mrs. Bezos half of their fortune isn’t as much “hers” because he founded Amazon can suck it... its the law and he presumably knew that when he started Amazon here too.


Elizabeth Warren is pretty stupid, for being so smart. But hey at least her literally impossible "wealth tax" gets her headlines...
Here's the problem with taxing "wealth".
From WP-
"what is the value of a business with one shareholder? A large piece of timberland that hasn’t been sold for 50 years? An irreplaceable antique or artwork?" So basically they can hide from it.
And this isn't even the real issue.
Article 1 section 9 of the U.S. Constitution forbids “direct taxes” on people or property unless they’re “apportioned” — doled out among the states by population.
So Warren has been lying to everyone just to use "I hate rich people" as a way to the White House. Just like she lied about being Native American, used it on academic applications (fraud) and then used a DNA test that showed she had 1 Native relative 6-10 generations ago as "proof" that she wasn't lying when she said on a Texas State Bar application that she was "American Indian" or when Harvard actually said she was a minority hire... girl is whiter than Rachel Dolezal.
I really liked Warren when she went to DC, I thought she was the smart technocrat we needed to tackle the issues made clear from the 2008 financial crisis. Then I realized she is just another lifelong registered Republican who "saw the light" and lies through her teeth. Seriously if she had run as a Republican and called herself "American Indian" on an application ya'll would hit the roof.


wow Bezos really likes him some manly women. Chin implant much?


$72 billion... without a doubt the very best cosmetic surgery humans can buy and these two are still the ugliest white people on the planet.


Money is power. No way should anyone have thirty-some billion dollars worth of power that isn't subject to democratic control. She should give the money to the treasury.



If you want to find the price of a thing, you make multiple offers to buy it.

This is capitalism, baby.

If it's the government making the offers, the negotiation is not optional. We (the people) start low and increase the offer until the owner agrees to the sale. We then either proceed with the transaction (and flip it for a profit, if the owner is trying to lowball us) or we decline to buy, but set the owner's tax on the thing based on the agreed sale price.

We can do it with an auction, too, and get a whole parcel done in an afternoon.

Capitalism and markets, my friend. That's how you find the prices of things.


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@17: Do I detect foam running down your ignorant, classist chinny-chin-chin?
@18 blip: Congrats for being spot on, but forget about muffy--she's trolling up the wrong tree as usual. For all her pearl clutching, she still hasn't gotten her shots.
@33: Down, boy, down.
@36 Quintus Slide: Unlike Jeff, MacKenzie just might. She seems to have a conscience.


Just as I suspected, the usual MAGA idiots are going nuts in this thread.