• Germany's news in English

Germany's super-rich urged to follow US billionaires' lead

6 Aug 2010, 08:44

Published: 06 Aug 2010 08:44 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Politicians from the centre-left Social Democrats and environmentalist Greens have pointed to the announcement spearheaded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett as an example Germany's financial elite could follow.

Green chairwoman Claudia Roth described the gesture as setting a “good example.”

“Those who can afford it, should do it,” she told the Passauer Neue Presse.

SPD deputy parliamentary leader Joachim Poß described the US announcement as a “good idea.”

“One can follow that approach further here,” he told the paper.

Story continues below…

Carsten Schneider, budget spokesman for the SPD’s parliamentary group, said the US announcement was “a very commendable demonstration that the rich are not exempt from social responsibility” – adding that such a trend was not to be observed in Germany.

But charitable donations were a good way “to give something back to the community,” he said, though donations could “not replace sensible taxation on wealth.”

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

09:27 August 6, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Philanthropy is laudable. Paying one's fair share of taxes is necessary. Those who choose to give portions of their fortunes away to designated beneficiaries are able to avoid taxes while at the same time fostering a personal social or political agenda that excludes society at large. Paying reasonable taxes based on income and wealth benefits the commonweal. The notion that 21st century societies must resort to 17th century patronage to survive is somehow hard to reconcile.
10:32 August 6, 2010 by OMFG
Hey Kanadian - what made you get this generalized impression about Germans? Any examples?
12:04 August 6, 2010 by hkypuck
**Donations could ¦quot;not replace sensible taxation on wealth.¦quot;**

What a shock to hear THAT coming from someone working in the

public sector, huh? What could be the possible gain from taxation for them.

"Here, you (citizen) don't know where to put your money.

Give it to us (the gov't) and we'll see that it gets to the people that need it most." (i.e. laundered to the politicians).
12:25 August 6, 2010 by freechoice
charity comes from the heart, if you want to do it, nobody can persuade you to say no, likewise, if you are not gonna do it, why should anybody speak up about it?
12:30 August 6, 2010 by Bushdiver
Load of crap if you ask me. Why don't some of the rich and worthless politicians donate some of their money.
18:23 August 6, 2010 by criticalthinker
Don't let the American super rich fool you you Germans. If the super rich give their money away to the poor all the poor will do is spend the money and have nothing after it is all spent. We in the U.S. tried that when the idiot Lyndon Johnson was president. Please google "The Great Society" and you will see what giving money to the poor does to them. It destroys them. The super rich need to creat JOBS for the poor people so that they can make their own way in life.
18:31 August 6, 2010 by Prufrock2010
What have the super rich in America done to create jobs lately? And where did you get your degree in economics?
18:46 August 6, 2010 by recherche
I am not sure that wealth is managed appropriately in European societies. But I do have serious reservations about giving money away. They may have more money than they rightfully should have, but giving it to the complacent, vocal and lazy is not necessarily a good thing. The trouble with socialism is just that: some give but there's no quid pro quo.
18:47 August 6, 2010 by snorge

You know that American movie you saw at the theater lately, all those people who made it go jobs from those American Super Rich guys who financed it....
19:12 August 6, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Movies are primarily financed by investment bankers with other people's money.
08:30 August 7, 2010 by JohnnesKönig
Are they really being generous? Or are the trying to beat the change in tax laws coming in 2011? And of course Bill Gates is making his donation to his favorite charity, the Gates foundation...
14:07 August 7, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I'm not a big fan of Bill Gates or Microsnot, but I must admit that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation does a great deal of good humanitarian work around the world. As for Warren Buffett (isn't he the richest man in America now?), he himself acknowledged that his secretary paid more in personal income tax in 2008 than he did. Yes, I'm sure their large charitable contributions have a tax planning element to them. These men are much too savvy to be be guided by pure altruism.
16:06 August 7, 2010 by TBurris
Maybe Bill Gates should keep his money and fix Windows.
20:05 August 8, 2010 by dbert4
If they really want to help, maybe they should bring back the jobs that they sent overseas. Since they're now now rich enough to give money away, I guess they don't need to screw thier country anymore by off-shoring.
05:05 August 9, 2010 by parografik
No one is talking about handing out checks to Cadillac welfare moms. What if they were able to find cures for cancers, global warming,, asbestos poisoning, royalty, and whatever it is that causes Glen Beck to well up so frequently? There's a million causes we could all agree are not issues we find our politicians or capitalism dealing with in an effective manner. Would you rather they not pony up 500 billion toward things like that? Just think of the all of the tissues filling our landfills loaded with the sanctimonious snot of misleading pundits .
13:24 August 9, 2010 by bugger
I am really surprised that people are so naive, riches give money to their own profitable charity, it means they turn that money and make profit. The only visible thing here is: they gather billions in one organization, it means they want to become stronger than others. Therefore other riches think they must unite themselves or American riches will be the strongest in international market. It is the same as politics (USA, EU, United South America or Africa), just this is about economy.
15:19 August 9, 2010 by Prufrock2010
That's why this article appears in the Business and Money section.
22:00 August 13, 2010 by wxman
It's not the job of entrepenteurs to create "jobs". Their focus is on creating self wealth. A side benefit of their desire to better their position is the hiring of workers to meet demand for their product. The individual businessman shoulders all the risk - - long hours and all their $$ invested in a risky economic endeavor. The purpose of staring business is the acquiring of capital and a better life by risking everything; it is NOT to create jobs. Sheeesh!
Today's headlines
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd