Remember when Jeff Bezos was showered with praise for donating $100 million to food banks last year?
That may seem like a lot, and it is. But once you consider all that Bezos has raked in during the pandemic – including making $13 billion in a single day in 2020 – it’s a few hours of his earnings.
It’s not just Bezos. Billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet also receive lots of praise for their “generous” charitable giving.
The truth about billionaire philanthropy is it isn’t charity. Its public relations, often used to cover up their exploitative business practices, shield their wealth, and deflect attention from all they money they pour into lobbying and campaign contributions to assure that their taxes remain historically low.
These so-called “charitable contributions” are also tax-deductible, meaning you and I are subsidizing them. I don’t know about you, but I believe taxpayers should be deciding where their tax dollars ultimately go.
America doesn’t need their charity. We need them to pay their fair share in taxes.
Robert Reich’s latest book is “THE SYSTEM: Who Rigged It, How To Fix It.” He is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written 17 other books, including the best sellers “Aftershock,””The Work of Nations,” “Beyond Outrage,” and “The Common Good.” He is a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, founder of Inequality Media, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentaries “Inequality For All,” streamng on YouTube, and “Saving Capitalism,” now streaming on Netflix.