Steve Forbes, the wealthy Forbes family heir, has accomplished little of note in his life except presiding over the decline of the Forbes media empire, and losing badly in a run for President. We'll give him this, though: he is an amazing troll.
Steve Forbes, whose nervous air and ever-pursed lips are the very embodiment of The Stuffy Rich White Man, who has never felt passionate about any political issue save cutting taxes, has penned this troll for the ages in the Washington Post: "Thank the rich for supporting the underclass."
All praise due to the anonymous editor who stuck Steve Forbes with this fantastically undermining headline.
Imagine a child, suffering from malaria in Tanzania. A couple of years ago, philanthropists would have donated medicine or money for treatment. Today, they're working to cure the disease for good.
It's just one example of the titanic shift that's occurred in the world of giving. More than ever, individuals are funding solutions, not stopgaps. What sparked such a sharp shift? The free markets.
That malaria-wracked child in Tanzania is firmly against government regulation of Wall Street.
The past two decades have spawned a new wave of billionaires who've have taken up the banner of social justice, sparking a golden age of philanthropy not seen since the days of Rockefeller, Carnegie and Morgan.
Forbes might have just put a period after the word "billionaires" in that sentence and been more clear. It is nice of him, though, to make a direct comparison between today's vast inequality and that of the last Gilded Age—an age of profiteering and powerful industrialists that spawned decades of vehement populism. Yes, we are in a new Gilded Age, in which a tiny class of ultrawealthy billionaires hand out crumbs to pacify the teeming masses. Thank you for making that point, Steve.
Big issues require big resources – and often big risks. Today's challenges require individuals willing to invest capital and leadership without the expectation of personal gain, but instead with a focus on public welfare.
Big problems in the world. Big poverty. Thank god we have a tiny class of ultrawealthy people willing to put money into these issues. Why, who else would ever invest capital with a focus on public welfare? You'd need some sort of... I don't know... "government" for that.
The reality is that today philanthropy is meeting the needs that government and the private sector have not.
And WHOSE FAULT IS THAT YOU TAX-SLASHING, PUBLIC REVENUE-STARVING PROTECTOR OF PRIVATE CAPITAL?
Steve Forbes, ladies and gentlemen. Not great at business or politics, but an amazing troll.