Utne Article Summary August 1998

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Utne Article Summary

August 1998

Show U The Money

by Mark Dowie

Submitted by: Ladd Kocinski

This article is concerned with the approximately 10 trillion dollars that will move from one generation to the next in the next twenty five years. Inheritance, how could this best be tapped to be of maximum benefit to society? Dowie gives some options! Should the rich keep it and invest it? Should the government claim it and redistribute it? Should we induce the rich to create new charities and foundations? According to the article, if its handed to the poor, after they get a new refrigerator, dental work and a rec. room will their life be more fulfilling and their souls enriched? How far would it lift the poor and for how long? Dowie seems to think that foundation philanthropy is the way to go, but not with todays rules. He says democratize them. Add tax laws that force private foundations to expand their boards and trustees beyond the family, friends, attorneys, and millionaires. Bring community activists and common folks into the boardroom. This will give new ideas to the old guard and put more leverage on the establishment to think of what is actually being done to help those in need rather than actually helping the rich hang onto their money and look like theyre doing something for society. Make these foundations spend more than 5% per year. This could easily be accomplished through the tax system. By using tax authority and incentives, the rich will want to do whats in their financial interest but will help society if they get a feather in their hat that doesnt cost them anymore money.

It is widely accepted that if all the wealth were redistributed evenly in society in 20 years it would be back to what it is now. Using taxes and incentives would definitely redistribute a portion of the wealth to society in general and the rich would feel good about themselves whether or not it was deserved.

These organizations would do much for society and use the income tax system to get income from the uncharitable rich.

-- Anonymous, May 12, 1999

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