What We're Reading: We should be skeptical of billionaires who pledge to share their wealth

From CNN: "In the United States, we are now treated to regular announcements about benevolent billionaires pledging to share their wealth. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, for instance, recently told CNN that he would be giving away the majority of his $124 billion fortune in his lifetime. Further back in 2015, Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced he would give away what he makes from 99% of his Facebook shares."

"At this point, we should assume a skeptical posture. The truth is, pledges like these may take years, decades or even generations to reach their nonprofit destinations – if ever. That’s why we need more public scrutiny of billionaire philanthropy – and much clearer rules to make sure donations actually support real, working charities."

"...billionaire charity is our tax dollars at work. For every dollar a billionaire gives to charity, we the taxpayers chip in up to 74 cents of that dollar in lost federal tax revenue as donors claim deductions in their income, estate and capital gains taxes, among others. That makes it even more outrageous that much of this money may never reach a real, on-the-ground charity."

"Because our tax dollars subsidize this system, charity needs to be more transparent, with clear disclosures of when donations reach their recipients. Payout requirements should be increased, with more oversight to ensure that philanthropic money reaches real working charities. Components of these reforms are included in the Accelerate Charitable Effectiveness (ACE) Act, which has bipartisan backing in the Senate, although a vote has yet to be been called since it was introduced in 2021."

Read the full article here.