Spending Money Effectively

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Alexander Cockburn offers advice to the Gates Foundation on how to spend Warren Buffett's mammoth donation. I enjoyed this part:

At the moment it seems that the Gates couple's core focus is the war on AIDS and malaria, both ravaging Africa. How to improve the Dark Continent's overall well-being? America's senators and representatives can be bought for bargain-basement sums. A modest disbursement by the Gates Foundation–let us say $50,000 for each senator and $20,000 for each rep–would most certainly buy enough votes to end the current government subsidy, $4.5 billion for 2004, to cotton growers. The entire crop that year, the last for which figures are available, was worth $5.9 billion and the subsidy enables US growers to export three-quarters of their harvest and control about 40 percent of world trade, thus destroying the farm economies of countries like Mozambique, Benin and Mali….With overthrow of the cotton subsidy as a pilot program, Gates could launch a wider onslaught on the subsidies doled out to large wheat, rice and corn growers.

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  1. What an absolute piece of Un-American crap! Do you really want Gates to hate on the family farmer? I’m talking about FOOD, folks. You know, the stuff we eat? It’s ideas like this that killing our country, people! We need to be buying American food. And if it means paying way too much for it, and paying two or three times over, so be it.

    End farming subsidies? How about NO, you crazy terrorist bastard!

  2. “Help the economy. Buy a Congressman.”

  3. US-defition poverty has three components, the ability to feed, clothe and house yourself.

    The irony here is that by ending government subsidies and tariffs on food and clothing, not only will we reduce poverty in the US, but that the two easiest ways to reduce poverty in truly poor countries is to allow them to export their food and clothing products.

    If God judges us by our actions then there is no doubt in my mind that the vast majority of our Senators, Representitives and Presidents since the 1920’s will go to Hell if they haven’t already arrived.

    Of course it may be true that God is merciful though and maybe he has loopholes to allow these destructive people into Heaven.

    H&R readers, please forgive me if this thread now gets hijacked by religion. Sorry.

  4. I suppose the fact that more and more people are admitting that elected offcials are openly for sale is an advance.

    Perhaps we can get rid of that pesky anti-slavery amendment as well. Then the market transformation of Amerika will finally be complete, “Markets in Everything” is how Tyler Cowen puts it I believe.

    Rather amusing that we can only look at ridding ourselves of nonsensical subsidies by placing elected officials on E-bay.

    Of course that’s why I’m not a libertarian. I want to rid the country of ridiculous subsidies, without elected representation being for sale. And I’m aware that makes me odd man out at any gathering of modern libertarians.

  5. I want to rid the country of ridiculous subsidies, without elected representation being for sale.

    What makes you think anyone else likes having a government of whores?

  6. Of course that’s why I’m not a libertarian. I want to rid the country of ridiculous subsidies, without elected representation being for sale. And I’m aware that makes me odd man out at any gathering of modern libertarians.

    You don’t really think libertarians want our representatives to be for sale do you?

    Second point: How would a non-libertarian approach towards ending legal (lobbyists etc.) and illegal bribery of our elected representatives be more effective than the libertarian approach of radically cutting down the ways government can make any laws that restrict our various liberties?

  7. Most media folk would say Alexander Cockburn is thinking outside the box.
    Hell, that’s the only kind of thinking (thinking?) we do here.
    I’m just sayin’, Bill and Melinda.

  8. Ending agricultural (and other) U.S. subsidies makes perfect economic sense and is also, for reasons others have pointed out, the moral thing to do.

    In other words, it stands no chance whatever of happening.

  9. The irony here is that by ending government subsidies and tariffs on food and clothing, not only will we reduce poverty in the US, but that the two easiest ways to reduce poverty in truly poor countries is to allow them to export their food and clothing products.

    The more directly stated irony is that we would also reduce or eliminate the aid we currently send those poverty stricken poor countries.

  10. The more directly stated irony is that we would also reduce or eliminate the aid we currently send those poverty stricken poor countries.

    Aid, incidentally, that for the most part, does absolutely nothing to alleviate poverty in those countries. Except, maybe, the corrupt leaders who divert it to their personal use.

  11. Answer:
    SOCTUS member Thomas.

    For a small chance to overturn Kelo, how many libertarians would support justices who would overturn the bill of rights.

    If Bush offered Libertarians the trade, civil rights gone, but property rights enforced, how many libertarians, under the guise that personal freedom begins with property rights would make that trade? I’d bet CATO would. And a few here at this mag too.

    I reject the view that I can be property. And property rights are just one of my MANY rights.

  12. Buffett should liquidate his holdings and order that the money be burned.

    That in effect returns it to the taxpayers, as the Fed simply prints more instead of selling debt, in that amount.

    Never hand money to do-gooders.

  13. I’d light my fortune on fire, but the $8 I have in my wallet isn’t going to be that impressive a blaze.

  14. “And property rights are just one of my MANY rights.”

    None of your many rights trump anyone else’s property rights.

  15. YES!, Genius

    Maybe they could start the Gates PAC?

  16. What makes you think anyone else likes having a government of whores?

    Comparing our government to a bunch of whores is dishonest, disrespectful and rude. Whores provide an actual service in exchange for the money they get.

  17. A comparison of ways whores and politicians are the same and different, inspired by Jennifer.

    You can buy a whore. You can buy a politician. Verdict: same.

    Whores do disgusting things to other people. Politicians do disgusting things to other people. Verdict: same.

    Whores dress for their job. Politicians dress for their job. Verdict: same.

    Whores perform a desired service. Politicians desire to be serviced. Verdict: different.

    What whores do is illegal. What politicians do should be illegal. Verdict: different

    Whores get reamed for lots of money. Citizens get reamed by politicians who want their money. verdict: different.

    Whores will screw anyone in the military. Politicians will screw anyone in the military. Verdict: same.

    Whores don’t care what color the skin is of people they screw. Politicians don’t care what color the skin is of people they screw. Verdict: same.

    Some whores will keep a lot of money in their freezer because they are too stupid to think of a better place to put it. Some politician kept a lot of money in his freezer because he was too stupid to think of a better place to put it. Verdict: same.

    Whores think nothing of lying to you in order to seperate you from your money. Politicians thik nothing of lying to you in order to seperate you from your money. Verdict: same.

    Professional whores get nasty diseases. Professional politicians are a nasty disease. Verdict: different.

    If you refuse to give a whore your money, she will send a pimp with a gun after you. If you refuse to give your money to the government, the politicians will send a posse with guns after you. Verdict: same.

    Many people who haven’t thought about it think whores are vile people. Many people who have thought about it think politicians are vile. Verdict: different.

    Most whores are women. Most politicians are men. Verdict:different.

    Most whores don’t have other skills that would enable them to make as much money honestly as they do now. Most politicians don’t have other skills that would enable them to make as much money honestly as they do now. verdict: same.

    Most whores could care less about the Constitution. Most politicians could care less about the Constitution. Verdict: same.

    Bad people sometimes kill whores. Bad people sometimes kill politicians. Verdict: same.

    Whores can’t be trusted. Politicians can’t be trusted. Verdict: same.

    As you can see, while there are some important differences between whores and politicians, they are more alike than different.

  18. And that was just off the top of my head.

  19. There farm subsidies, then theres actual gaurantees/insurance for people who grow food. Farmers (real ones) need SOME sort of protection against the vagaries of the weather, or crop disease, locusts, etc.
    They need SOME sort of hedge against the vagaries of the “market”- that “invisible hand”{ bullshit. There is also the wealth they add to the commonweal by husbanding land and raising kids who know how to work.
    Every paper pushing parasite who can scrape up $ for pols gets some sort of cushion. REAL farmers dont. by & large. And REAL farmers feed not only paper pushin parasites, but tradesmen, who add wealth, like my own modest self.
    But of course, far & away the VAST bulk of “farm subsidies” go to paper pushin bureaucrats, who raise nuthin but ire & the parasites of tomorrow.
    By all means, underwrite, as far as is needed to insure production, honest farmers. Cut off the rest….mutt

  20. Your property rights do not trump my personal right to not be owned, even if you think they can.

  21. How $60 Billion Behemoth Will Affect World of Charity: Will its financial firepower and entrepreneurial approach change the course of global health care, and even society?

    Some question whether the Gateses’ largess is being put to the best possible use in tackling global health. Few in the public-health field have dared to criticize the foundation since they are — or hope to be — recipients of Gates-sponsored grants. Yet some argue that instead of taking a narrow approach that aims to, say, reduce the number of HIV infections, the Gates Foundation could use more of its money to transform the politics of global health — and thereby create a more lasting, widespread impact. In other words: Get rich countries to pour more money and take a stronger stand in the battle against the deadliest diseases of the developing world.

    Amir Attaran, professor of law and medicine at the University of Ottawa in Canada, said the Gates Foundation has been generous in agreeing to spend $750 million over five years to boost childhood immunization in poor countries. However, he argued, “a more entrepreneurial approach would be to spend $50 million to change the policy environment” that contributed to the problem in the first place.

    Rich Donors Throw in Their Two Cents: Warren Buffett’s recent donation is an old-school way of charitable giving — take this check, put it to good use. Increasingly, though, donors are giving money on the condition that the charity take their management advice, too.

    Giving It Away, Then and Now: “The Gates Foundation isn’t building schools,” said Peter J. Frumkin, professor of public affairs of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas and author of the forthcoming book “Strategic Giving: The Art and Science of Philanthropy.”

    “They’re giving money to school systems and telling them to restructure, to reduce the size of their schools,” Professor Frumkin said.

    Don’t panda to misty-eyed sentiment: China exacts a high diplomatic price for its “panda diplomacy”. Even the zoo in Washington DC, famous for its pandas, does not own them but rents them from China for about $1 million a year apiece. Now there’s a trade deficit to get het up about. For $1 million you could rent a senator.


    As Congress prepares to debate a farm bill next year, The Washington Post is examining federal agriculture subsidies that grew to more than $25 billion last year, despite near-record farm revenue.

    Articles: Farm Program Pays $1.3 Billion to People Who Don’t Farm, Growers Reap Benefits Even in Good Years

    Graphics: Raising Cash, Making the Most of a Subsidy, From Loans to Loan Deficiency Payments, Cash for Corn, Money for Nothing, A Changing Farm ProgramFarm Subsidies Over Time, Pay Dirt

  22. HTF do the Server Squirrels let Post PC get away with that many links? They freak out if I put 2 in a post.

    As for Mr. Cockburn, is he sniffing around to see if Bill and Melinda have a daughter he can marry? 🙂

    Kevin

  23. As for Mr. Cockburn, is he sniffing around to see if Bill and Melinda have a daughter he can marry? 🙂

    Whats the deal? Ive heard this repeated before? Has the old CP’r had a bunch of rich wives?

  24. Happyjuggler, you forgot one: A whore will not screw a dead person. A politician will continue to screw you after you’re dead. Verdict: different.

  25. HappyJ, that was absolutely brilliant. That deserves a poster or a t-shirt or a mug or something. Except CafePress would probably shy away in horror.

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