WASHINGTON--"Populism" is the most overused and misused word in the lexicon of commentary.
Meeting with Joe Biden, Bill Gates seconds my* motion about foreign aid levels. (OK, I don't think Gates actually cited me. But you know that's where he got the idea.) --Michael Crowley
Permanent repeal of the estate tax did not pass Congress in 2006. And with the Democrats now in charge, it seems unlikely to pass in the near future. But plenty of conservatives still agitate for it -- and the cause still has plenty of supporters. So it's worth noting who just came out against permanent repeal: Bill Gates, who just happens to be the world's richest man. His father has long been outspoken against repeal, but today -- during hearings before a Senate committee on competitiveness -- Gates confirmed that he agrees with his father: The estate tax is a good thing, he said.
GEORGE SOROS LUNCHED with some reporters on Saturday at Davos. He talked about spending $600 million on civil society projects during the 1990s, then trying to cut back to $300 million, and how this year it will be between $450 and $500 million. His new projects aim, in Floyd Norris’s words, to promote a “common European foreign policy” (read: an anti-American foreign policy) and also to study the integration (or so he thinks) of Muslims in eleven European cities.
Will the rich save the world? This has not been their traditional service to humankind; but in contemporary America you may be forgiven for believing in the messianic power of personal wealth. We are still enjoying the economicist fantasy that was inaugurated by technology in the Clinton years and consolidated by ideology in the Bush years. Could it be that the rich did not previously save the world because they were not rich enough? But they are rich enough now, right? I do not mean to be too clever.