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POD #12

Sue  just parked me on the deck again and said, “see you tonight.” I didn’t think to ask her what was for lunch as the sharp edge of my hunger had just been filed down by three whole wheat waffles with strawberries and sugar-free syrup, sitting in my stomach like a load of bricks.

About a quarter of a way through breakfast, Sue and realized that we weren’t alone. Over the top of my waffle mountain, I saw this–

Top of a deck post

Notice anything?

Well, there are certain carbon-based forms that Sue likes, including me I like to think, and these cute little things here–

Cute little hummingbird

And then, there are carbon-based life forms she doesn’t like, one specific example being a certain, high-level politician, who shall go unmentioned, snakes, skunks, rats and other rodents, most insects, and for some reason not clear to me, our little visitor this morning, who worked so hard to get to this one beautiful little bit of paradise.

You will see him, I’m taking the liberty of gender, not knowing otherwise, in this close up…

harmless, little visitor

…our harmless little visitor, who happened to be a tree frog, and who violates some aesthetic code that my wife holds dear.

Anyway, I think he is still there. It is difficult for me to say, as I am back on my back, where I am most comfortable.

I noticed a couple of days ago that there was a  big hub-bub in the news about Bill Gates and Warren Buffet giving away half of there fortunes to charity. And I thought, well, that’s nice; and then there was some talk about how maybe other’s should do the same, and I couldn’t help thinking…why now?

I thought…what others…just billionaires…or did that mean millionaires too…or perhaps everyone who made more than the “magic number” that used to be 500k, but then revised down to 250, then 200, and Lord knows where that will end up at. And then I thought…okay…Bill Gates is going to give away 3 billion dollars, and keep only 3 billion for himself. I wondered if he was going to give away half of his castle too, and only live in the other half…isn’t that kind kind of like that parable in the bible about the widow and her two cents.

And, again, why now? Why didn’t they have this epiphany when they had a few million dollars…or even a billion or two? And if others are supposed to do this, what if they want to wait until they have 10 billion dollars too, before they give away half of it? The fact is that Mr. Buffet and Mr. Gates pay much less in taxes than us ‘common folks’ who work for a living, and do not live off of investments and fortunes, which are taxed at much lower rates. Of course, I don’t begrudge them that. I don’t think that ‘those’ kind of taxes should be raised-it would only further harm and kill off productivity and incentive more so than it has already been harmed, squashed flat, like a squirrel at the side of road, by the modern day taxation policy. The point as to “why now” is that they are at a position where it doesn’t really matter how much they give away, because pretty much any fraction of what remains would be more than I or 99.99% of the population will ever have.

I think that what he and is wife are doing, with their philanthropy and the wiping out of malaria in third world countries is wonderful, and to be applauded. But, I had the impression that there was this undertone in the media presentation of the suggestion or pressure that it might be a good idea to encourage, foster, force, legislate that others do the same, in the name of “common good.”

Then my old friend from Omaha, Warren “The Oracle” Buffet” quips up that he’d give away 97.9%, or some similar amount, of his fortune. Obviously, he’d done some figuring, and last I checked, 2.1% of a several billion dollars is still a lot of money, especially if you’re 102 years old, or however he is, have a mortgage that’s all paid off, and live like a monk anyway.

Still, it is an admirable thing Mr. Buffet is doing, as do many other people the world over. In every community you will find parks, pools, paths, benches, YMCA’s, Children’s Homes, Hospitals, Women’s Relief Centers, Community Clinics, etc. that would not have been possible without help from people like Mr. Gates, Mr. Buffet, and all the other evil, rich people and big, bad corporations. ‘A rising tide lifts all boats’ as they say. See this article from Fortune.

The reason Gates and Buffet have been so wildly successful is because of captilalism and free markets, which work, as history tells us over and over and over again. The problem with “from each according to their ability to each according to their need” is that eventually, there will too many with need, and not enough with ability.

So, all you Harvard-trained, ruling-class, elitist politicians; and all you yellow-journalistic, media dog-blank(s) who know so much better than all us unenlightened, ‘common folk’ out here in Jesus land–leave us alone and get the hell out of our lives, or we’ll all be forced, on principle alone, to join our good friend, John Galt

Ouch, the sun’s burning my knees. Sue did a rather poor job of positioning the umbrella. I’d better give her a holler.