How to Properly Reward Your Favorite Starving WriterS

The rich: they're different from you and me. You read a story you like, you send a letter to the editor. A rich guy reads a story he likes and sends a $20,000 check to the writer.

Atul Gawande wrote a New Yorker story about health care last year. Warren Buffett's partner liked it so much that he decided to express himself the only way he knew how. As Buffett tells it:

"My partner Charlie Munger sat down and wrote out a check for $20,000 to him and he's never met him, never had any correspondence with it, he just mailed it to the New Yorker and he said, `This article is so useful socially.' He says, `Just give this as a gift to the—to Dr. Gawande.'"

Uhh. And then Atul Gawande had to be like hey, whoa, I gave it to charity, okay? Which just goes to show Charlie Munger's fundamental mistake: not mailing a huge check to some dude whose story he liked, but mailing a huge check to a dude whose story he liked who couldn't accept the money. We'd like to assure Mr. Munger and his fellow wealthiest 1% of 1% of Americans that internet "blogs" are a much richer source of writers who will be only to happy to silently pocket a check of praise, particularly if that check is mailed not to their place of work but straight to their home address, which could theoretically be obtained by emailing the writer directly.

As a side note, I too have been thinking a lot lately about health care and other important problems facing America, as well as the insidious harm caused by capital gains taxes, and the best way to ensure that household help doesn't steal from a summer home unoccupied by its busy, industrious owner. It's hard to get all these ideas full fleshed out on a meager "blog" salary, though. Ah well. The loss is the world's, is it not? Sure.