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The really interesting thing to me about this announcement is that it's the first time I think I've ever heard about such a large gift being given to individuals, instead of a foundation or non-profit. Curious if Bezos is just testing to see if this type of philanthropy has better results.

I'm also interested in the logistics of a gift this large. I mean, Bezos would have to pay a large gift tax for gifts sent directly to individuals. Obviously he can afford it, but curious if there was some attempt to save on taxes if the end desire is for all of this money to go to charity.

I'd suggest that Jeff Bezos is unlikely to pay a meaningful amount in taxes (in this case, meaning "relative to the action" rather than "relative to his overall wealth"), regardless of what he does.

I mean, there's either a legal tax shelter he will take advantage of, or he'll pay the gift tax. People complain about the wealthy and giant corporations "paying no tax" but they are paying the minimal taxes that the law reqires, as we all do (any readers who voluntarily send extra money to the IRS are excepted).

Weirdly, a system where large sums of money are required to hold political power seems to result in low tax burdens for the ultra-rich. I can’t quite figure out how the two are linked tho… /s

The responsibility for the totally-warped tax law falls entirely on our elected officials.

I expect people to try to bend rules to their advantage, and I expect rule-makers to not concede. I don't blame soccer players for taking a dive when it helps improve the odds of pulling a card; I blame FIFA for not putting in rules to disincentivize this behavior (though in soccer in particular, this is changing).

I sortof disagree. Like, yes it’s down to individual corrupt politicians - but systemically basically nobody who isn’t corrupt can get elected anymore because of the massive amounts of dark money involved. So, getting mad at them seems pointless to me.

This is not a personal gift to Van Jones and Jose Andres... they are being given this money to donate to charities. I think the way it will work is that they will designate the charities and Bezos will donate it, or Bezos will transfer the money and they will donate it within the calendar year.

> is just testing to see if this type of philanthropy has better results.

The idea of a billionaire spending time minmax-ing their donations seems highly unlikely.

You don't know many billionaires then. Many prominent philanthropists have written extensively about how to track, measure and optimize the impact of their donations.

A lot of charities secretly loathe big donations from the super-wealthy, because they come with all kinds of strings. The charities can't say no, generally. But people who run charities are rightfully put out when a rich person likes a charity enough to give it a lot of money but not enough to let the people running the charity use their expertise to decide how to spend it.

Seems like exactly how Bill Gates has spent his time since retiring from Microsoft.

Agreed. They generally hire teams of people to do it for them.

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