Chris's Rants

Monday, September 05, 2005

I'm not impressed

Former presidents Bush and Clinton just held a press conference to announce the establishment of the Bush/Clinton Katrina fund. Behind them, they had assembled a bunch of CEOs including Wal*Mart CEO Lee Scott. Bush I announced that Wal*Mart had pledged $15M and that the Walton family had donated an additional $8M USD to the fund. Seems impressive doesn't it?

The problem is that it is almost insulting to the thousans upon thousands of people who have given generously to the charity of their choice for the victims of Katrina and the ensuing flood.

According to Forbes, the Walton family (as of Sept 2004's list of the worlds 400 richest people) had a combined net worth of $90B (US billion). Let's just assume for a moment that their net worth hasn't changed much since then (not likely, given how well Wal*Mart has done in the stock market). Their $8M contribution amounts to roughly 0.0000889 of that $90B. In fact, if one assumes that their wealth is invested at a mere 3% per year, their contribution amounts to the interest that would accrue just today on that investment. So, they've essentially contributed the equivalent of one day's interest (assuming that their wealth is very conservatively invested... NOT).

These are the same people who benefitted most from the Bush tax cuts -- amongst the top 0.1% of the nation's wealthiest people. The same tax cuts that have severely reduced the government's ability (and willingness) to invest in projects such as the ones that the Army Corps of Engineers and the City of New Orleans had been so desperately saying needed to be done to protect the city from the very threat that has just destroyed it, but that the administration and the Congress cut back severely.

It's as if they reached into their pockets to see what spare change they had jingling around and tossed it into the can.

Such generosity!

I, for one, am not impressed.

Update: Think Progress had a similar reaction and concluded that it's as if the average American contributed $7.74. Pathetic.


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