It looks like we're not the only folks a tad skeptical about all the uncritical adulation Warren Buffett is getting for announcing he's giving away the bulk of his fortune over the next few years. Today on SquawkBox, dapper young poltical reporter Andrew Sorkin of DealBook questioned whether the concentration of charitable money--the Gates Foundation will be the world's biggest charity after Buffett's donations--was really a good thing. And this morning's New York Sun carries an editorial pointing out that Buffett's progeny also profit from his giving.
The Gates Foundation isn't the only recipient of his largesse - three foundations headed by Mr. Buffett's three children, Susan, Howard, and Peter, will get hundreds of millions of dollars. Tax documents show that in 2004, Peter Buffett and his wife Jennifer each took a $40,000 a year salary for what they reported was 30 hours a week each of work on the foundation. Mr. Buffett has told Fortune (which broke the gift story) "Love is the greatest advantage a parent can give," and no doubt he is right about that. But that isn't all he's giving his own children.
We might add that, according to this two-year old Associated Press story, in the 1970s Warren Buffett gave Peter (pictured above left) Berkshire Hathaway stock that today (or in 2004, when the story was written) would be worth about $50 million. But we aren't arguing with the sage of Omaha. Love is the greatest gift a parent can give. That, $80K a year in a cushy charity job and $50 million will get you a pretty nice ride in life.
Buffett the Benefactor [New York Sun]