Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Gates & Buffett's Admirable Mission and The Pursuit of Happiness. Happy 230th Birthday America!

I figured this would be an appropriate post for the 4th of July, since the holiday celebrates the independence of this great nation, which provides its citizens with so many opportunities. "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." - Declaration of Independence, United States of America, July 4, 1776. "...the Pursuit of Happiness." What is does it mean? To each person, it has a different definition. For me, happiness is rooted in what my dad keeps telling me over and over and over, "Work hard and make lots of money so you can give back. That's how you'll be happy." I think I agree. First Gates announces his slow retirment from Microsoft. Then Buffett pledges a tiny sum of nearly 30 billion to the Gates Foundation. Kudos to Gates & Buffett! Seriously. Even if they had some ulterior motives, I don't care.


What makes this whole thing so awesome is the possibilities. Bill Gates, interestingly coined Bill v.2.0, but I think Bill 2008 would be more appropriate, has been quoted as saying,
There is no reason we can’t cure the top 20 diseases.
I believe it, and even if 5 out of the 20 were cured, that'd be amazing. I'm very curious how the next few years turn out, and I really, really hope I'll be reading more about the Gates Foundation in the years to come. Then I read Buffett talking about why he wants to give to the Gates Foundation and not keep the wealth in the family, he says,
I believe in equality of opportunity...They should not inherit my position in society, based on the womb that they were born from.
He leaves his own foundation and his 3 children's foundations with a mere 1 billion each. Yeah, that's still a lot of dough, but considering 85% of his net worth was donated to charity, that's a pretty darn significant portion! Back to that Buffett quote...it moves me. Why? After seeing things like MTV's Super Sweet 16, it's awesome to know there are folks in the UHNW levels that still hold a sense of integrity. Like what I mentioned earlier about my dad teaching me to give back, seeing two rich guys do exactly that makes me feel, well, good. I don't know how else to explain it. I feel proud that the American Dream has given rise to these two rich guys. Kudo's Bill & Warren! Happy 4th everyone!

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