Billionaires' 'Giving Pledge' Not Good Enough
But here's a way to fix it
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2010 1:13 PM CDT
Warren Buffett (R) stands with Bill and Melinda Gates June 26, 2006.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A bunch of billionaires have signed up for Warren Buffett and Bill Gates’ “Giving Pledge,” promising to give away half or more of their money to charity. Sounds great, right? Not to Ron Rosenbaum of Slate. “I think I can speak for the rest of the world when I say: Dudes, the ‘pledge’ is nice and all, but show us the money if you want the credit,” he writes, declaring the promise a “nebulous never-never-land pledge.”

The pledge just asks billionaires to pony up eventually, maybe even upon death, and Rosenbaum doesn’t trust them to do it honestly, or to put the money where it's needed most. So he proposes an alternative from economist Jeffrey Sachs, in which they put half their wealth into a trust, and let a reputable group, say the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have the interest. “They wouldn’t have to give away a cent,” Sachs explained. That money alone could eliminate the world’s most dire poverty problems—now, not later.