November 30, 2013

"Jack went out of his way to look poor, partly because he didn't want to be badgered by people who wanted money."

Jack McDonald, who died at the age of 98, left $198 million to 3 institutions — Seattle Children's Research Institution, the Salvation Army, and — because law, too, is good — the University of Washington School of Law.


St. George said...

Something for Josh Romney to ponder.

The Drill SGT said...

Bet the step children are pissed :)

Fandor said...

Now, all Jack has is the immortal soul he arrived with. R.I.P. Jack. Thanks for what you left behind. That'll be gone soon too.

madAsHell said...

$198 million is an impressive monument, but he had no children of his own.

I'd rather have the kids.

Fandor said...

Actually, Jack had his values straight. He put first things first. His money will be used for many good causes. What more can anyone ask of one who used his God given talents to achieve success and after his time was over, to share his harvest with those who will help others. God bless Jack. He was a good man.

EDH said...

Steven E. Landsburg, in praise of the miser.

What I Love About Scrooge

In this whole world, there is nobody more generous than the miser—the man who could deplete the world's resources but chooses not to. The only difference between miserliness and philanthropy is that the philanthropist serves a favored few while the miser spreads his largess far and wide.

If you build a house and refuse to buy a house, the rest of the world is one house richer. If you earn a dollar and refuse to spend a dollar, the rest of the world is one dollar richer—because you produced a dollar's worth of goods and didn't consume them.

Who exactly gets those goods? That depends on how you save. Put a dollar in the bank and you'll bid down the interest rate by just enough so someone somewhere can afford an extra dollar's worth of vacation or home improvement. Put a dollar in your mattress and (by effectively reducing the money supply) you'll drive down prices by just enough so someone somewhere can have an extra dollar's worth of coffee with his dinner. Scrooge, no doubt a canny investor, lent his money at interest. His less conventional namesake Scrooge McDuck filled a vault with dollar bills to roll around in. No matter. Ebenezer Scrooge lowered interest rates. Scrooge McDuck lowered prices. Each Scrooge enriched his neighbors as much as any Lord Mayor who invited the town in for a Christmas meal.

Saving is philanthropy, and—because this is both the Christmas season and the season of tax reform—it's worth mentioning that the tax system should recognize as much. If there's a tax deduction for charitable giving, there should be a tax deduction for saving. What you earn and don't spend is your contribution to the world, and it's equally a contribution whether you give it away or squirrel it away.

rhhardin said...

The good causes were better supported when he kept the money invested or in the bank.

Handing it out to charity takes it from whoever was using it and gives it to a "good cause," which is always worse than the alternative.

The market figured out the alternative, the board of trustees figure out the good cause.

Roux said...

Giving money to a university is worse than burning it in the back yard.

rhhardin said...

Burning money in the backyard just gives it to the U.S. Treasury.

The Fed measures that the money supply is smaller than it would have been, and prints more.

The more is in effect your burnt dollars.

If you put money in a mattress, the Fed prints a replacement until such time as you take it out and spend it, when the Fed burns an equal amount of its own.

John Lynch said...

Spend the money when you're alive. Then you control exactly where it goes.

After you die, you lose all say in how it is spent. Universities are full of crazies, and non-profits inevitably drift far away from their original missions.

Die broke.