When It Comes To Charity, Oligarchs Are Gonna Oligarch

by William Skink

Last November I wrote a post about the growing trend of protecting one’s wealth by creating charitable foundations. The reason for the post, titled
By Pretending To Help You The Wealthy Are Really Helping Themselves, was to contextualize Nick Checota’s alleged altruism in Missoula.

With the pandemic and a looming depression on the horizon, Missoula’s Sultan of Sound has gone from donating tens of thousands of dollars to strategic causes to deploying a Senator to panhandle the federal government on his behalf. This might create the impression that the wealthy are also being negatively impacted by this pandemic, but are they?

Raul Diego, at Mintpress, has an article up that examines how the billionaire class is massively profiting during this pandemic while tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs. From the link:

A study released by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) through its Program on Inequality and the Common Good, titled “Gilded Giving 2020: How Wealth Inequality Distorts Philanthropy and Imperils Democracy” examines the reality behind the ostensible charitableness of the billionaire donor class and the disturbing trend of charitable organizations and foundations relying more and more on fewer and fewer wealthy donors; funds which “end up in family foundations and donor-advised funds that could legally exist in perpetuity,” while donations from lower and middle-income sources are disappearing.

In particular, the paper looks at The Giving Pledge initiative started in 2010 by a few dozen U.S. billionaires and led by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. The professed goal of the initiative was to have the wealthiest people in the world pledge to give at least half of their fortunes away to charitable causes before their death. The study found that contrary to the stated purpose of the philanthropic commitment of the organization, a full 75 percent of participants have actually increased their net worth in the ten years since they made their charitable vow.

More concerning is the finding that a growing share of “high-end” donations never ends up in organizations that do any kind of altruistic work. Rather, they go to tax-privileged private foundations designed to serve as tax shelters for the very wealthy, which then only disburse a small percentage of their assets to charitable non-profits; a particularly galling fact considering how much more wealthy the one-percenters have gotten over the course of the pandemic in contrast to the 54 million Americans who’ve filed for unemployment in that same span of time.

Why is there not more rage over this? How can we gloss over this rapacious greed? Is corporate media that good at brainwashing us? Are we satisfied with this obscene greed as long as corporate boards have a few token minorities and women on them?

As the real economy continues to decouple from Wall Street’s Neverland, will the proletariat get busy sharpening their pitchforks, or will they instead sharpen their pencils for Biden?

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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1 Response to When It Comes To Charity, Oligarchs Are Gonna Oligarch

  1. jkhesq@comcast.net says:

    Boom!! Just found this unread

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