Mortality nears, and people get insights.
According to a recent WSJ article, Charles Koch has just decided that he would like to do things differently. After spending hundreds of millions of dollars for political philanthropy — from swaying elections to packing the court system — with tax benefits only billionaires could imagine — uh, he wants a “do over”. Or maybe not. Maybe he just wants to try and die with some version of a clear conscience.
That is the wonderful thing about being human, you only have one life to live, only so many cards in the deck, and when you play them out, and your hand is called — well, your card karma is out there. Certainly, wealthy people have rehabilitated their images all the time. History is written by the supposed “winners”? No, just people with the power and influence to play an extra card at the end, keep some side bets going — putting their names on buildings, statues and scholarships.
Rich people can do whatever they want with their money and have done so for millenia. What are many archaeological sites but tributes to the wealthy. But respect, and a clear conscience is earned — the former from others, the latter by your own honest self assessment. As a member of the general public, and “the other” and as a long time nonprofit leader, I’d like to weigh in on the first item. For all the folks that have given their lives to making the world a slightly better place, Koch can “f%$k off”.
Take your money to the grave, give it to your grandchildren, but true respect will be earned when you move beyond mortality meanderings and…
- Give away all your money without any tax benefits. And give it to nonprofits that demand systemic change relative to racism and discrimination, a healthy environment, campaign reform — exactly the opposite of things you funded over the years. And do it in the next 3 years. If you are such a smart businessman, write the plan and make it happen.
- Apologize for what you have done to our institutions, our environment, our political system.
- Give your companies to your workers and make them coops, as your family, you — have exploited workers and their labors for too long.
- And then just keep offering your apologies. Maybe then we (the general public) will believe you are sincere, and not just frightened by death.
What did Kenny Rogers say, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em
Know when to fold ’em, Know when…” Pass Koch a whiskey.