By Bill Maher
The UN announced last month that we needed about a billion - specifically $988 million - to effectively fight the African Ebola outbreak. Putting aside the absurdity of pinning down such a precise number (really, $988 million? $987 wouldn’t do the trick?), the sad fact remains that we are not even halfway there. Richer governments, we arebeing told, need to step up.
But what about richer people? Mark Zuckerberg kicked in $25 million. Bill Gates’ foundation committed $50 million. Paul Allen’s cutting a check for $100 million.
We are told again and again by conservatives that their billionaires are every bit as charitable and human as ours. So where the hell is Sheldon Adelson? He has over $32 billion. He could cover the entire cost without feeling the teensiest bit of financial pain.
How about the Koch brothers? David and Charles are each worth $42 billion. Charles even wrote a stirring defense of himself in the Wall Street Journal this spring, in which he moaned about the “Alinsky tactics” being used to assassinate his character. He opened the piece by claiming, “I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives.” Yeah? So how about improving some lives by helping people’s organs to not dissolve?
And then there’s the Waltons of Walmart fame, all four of whom are worth around $37 billion apiece. Couldn’t their brand benefit a little from helping out with this epidemic? Especially since so much of the cheap crap they sell comes from the Third World.
Sure, they could help. A lot. But they don’t think that way. Although all of the seven people I just named are right up there with Gates and Zuckerberg among the top 15 richest humans on the planet, the truth is that there is a difference between rich conservatives and rich liberals.