So the irony is rich in this story: Buffett is the cheerleader for getting the super rich to give lots of the money to charities. Great. Private charity works. We don’t need the government to help us. Yes, all this is very very good and a topic upon which I write about regularly. We don’t need the government!!!
But here’s the thing: Buffett and his friends are supporting charities that are completely orthogonal to typical government-provided services. Why? My guess – which is purely a guess, but I believe it is correct – is that 1) they are implicitly acknowledging that the government is crowding them (private charity) out of those services; and 2) giving the money directly to the government to bolster what the government already does would be a COMPLETE WASTE OF MONEY!!!
And here’s the other thing: Buffett is the same guy that wants to FORCE people (namely, him and other super rich) to have to do #2 by having the government increase the tax rate on the rich. Clearly Buffett is effective at mobilizing the rich. So why doesn’t he just voluntarily do #2. Clearly he can. What does it say about his integrity that he won’t?
So the bottom line is Buffett is a hypocritical jackass. But private charity works.