Community Comment

Is there a civic-minded billionaire?

David Horsey,,
David Horsey,,

Good afternoon, Netizens...

According to cartoonist David Horsey, is there such a thing as a civic-minded billionaire, or are they all as self-serving as this cartoon suggests they may be?

I've been in the homes of a few billionaires and millionaires and in nearly every instance they seem so understated about how wealthy they are. It's like the difference between examining the clothing of a middle-class route salesman who travels around his district attempting to sell whatever product(s) he/she has to offer and the clothing of a billionaire in some cases. One possible exception, of course, is Warren Buffett who prefers to drive his own middle-class automobile rather than a limousine and dresses in natty suits. In some cases it is difficult to tell a billionaire from a route salesman, and perhaps they like it that way.

Behind every Buffett or Microsoft's Bill Gates, there beats the heart of a philanthropist, if you believe any of the PR which they are quite capable of generating. In some cases the philanthropy is genuine enough. Gates has donated millions of dollars to worthy causes, as has Buffett. Both men have extensively donated to charitable causes, and despite how they live or dress, they have lengthy histories of giving to those less-fortunate in life. Where does one draw the line between charity and being civic-minded?

According to Horsey's cartoon, perhaps the real test of a billionaire's civic-mindedness is how many new jobs they have created in our current economy. Economic development always seems to come back to native American ingenuity; the ability to take a good idea from scratch and make something of it, including the creation of new jobs in any given community. You do not have to be a billionaire to make that happen, but if you believe economic history, a lot of billionaires have been made with just a few good ideas mixed with seed capital.

Perhaps one of the truly outstanding facets of life in Spokane is how charitable ordinary citizens, not the billionaires, have proven themselves to be over time, for without their civic-mindedness, Spokane could be a lot more grim a landscape in which to live than it already is. Of course, your opinions may differ...


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.



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