Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Billionaires Do Something Useful

I’m not quite sure if they can save Social Security or will even try, but I had to do a double-take when I saw that Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, two card sharks from cyberspace, actually convinced over 40 billionaire friends to donate half their fortunes to charity.

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You remember Buffett from Omaha. He’s the guy who asked people to invest $10,000 with his company back in the late 50s/early 60s, and not ask for any of it back until December 31st each year. You had a one-day window of opportunity to sell your shares. That's when Berkshire Hathaway was selling for about $14 a share on Wall Street, mortgages were averaging $10,000.00, and you could buy a new car for less than $2,000.

Couldn’t you kick yourself? Warren still eats hamburgers and “A” shares of Berkshire are now selling for $120,000 each. I was too young to invest at the time, and my allowance wouldn’t cover it; but I often thought about writing a book about time travel where the protagonist meets up with Christopher Lloyd, travels back to 1960, moves to Omaha, and gets rich.

Bill Gates used to be on my “S*it” list. I’ve cussed out Windows so many times that I’m surprised that it doesn’t give me more error messages at startup. It all began back in the 1980s when I just loved the control of using Norton Commander on my 70% IBM-compatible PC. I had everything down to a science using function keys. Then, Windows came along and screwed up everything. My PC became the Twilight Zone. If you are a techie, you know what I’m talking about. Everything has to be developed their way. Software is the only product in America that has quality control guidelines allowing it to be released with bugs. If Toyota tries it, it’s a major recall.

So now these two guys have started a charitable organization called The Giving Pledge. Of the 400 billionaires in America, they have convinced 40 of them, so far, to join and donate half their fortunes to charity. I was always told that charity begins at home, so I will send them my address upon request. Poor writers have good use for petty cash. My writer friend, Sherry, is having her 10th baby in January. We can do something about the floccinaucinihilipilification of our respective budgets.

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