Philanthropy is a ‘PR scam,’ said a CEO who raised his employees’ minimum wage to $ 70,000

It doesn’t buy what American billionaires sell.

The CEO, who is known for increasing his employees’ base pay to $ 70,000, says rich people donate their money and are rewarded with “glorious articles, hospital named after you and big money written off ”as“ one of the biggest PR scams in capitalism. ”

Dan Price, CEO of credit card processing company Gravity Payments, blamed American elites on Twitter
charges the average billionaire to donate a smaller portion of their money to charity each year than the average non – billionaire.

One of the biggest PR scams of capitalism is “philanthropy. “The average billionaire donates 1% of their fortunes to charity each year – less than billions. But when you donate $ 200 you won’t get shiny articles, a hospital named after you and big money written off. ‘

– Dan Price, Head of Gravity Payments

As evidence, Price recently cited a ranking of the largest charitable donations in 2020, which included in-depth donors like Amazon AMZN,
founder Jeff Bezos. Critics of wealth inequality have revealed that billions have seen their fortunes go up in times of pandemic, but their contributions to charity represent a small fraction of the growing wealth.

Price was motivated to stress philanthropy as Washington state is debating a proposal to create the first state wealth tax, he told MarketWatch. The tax would apply to people with a net worth of over $ 1 billion.
Price said one of the most common complaints he had heard about the proposal was “billions of taxes do not have to pay taxes because they already donate. ”

“In fact, the amount they give is a small part of what they would pay if their tax rates were working class,” he said.

Billions pay the lowest tax rate of any revenue body nationally, Price added. In Washington state, the richest pay 3% of their income on taxes, and the poor pay 18%, he said. (That’s according to a report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, left-wing think tank.)

“I think billionaires give for a variety of reasons, but it’s clear that giving the same thing to their court cases helps them to avoid steeper bills. in solving systemic problems, ”Price told MarketWatch.

The average American donates about 2% of their disposable income to charity each year, according to Giving USA, an annual report on charitable giving.

It is difficult to work out how many billions of rich billions will give them. They do not always publicly announce their charitable donation, and few need to say what they will donate.

Bezos was the No. 1 donor of 2020, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. He pledged $ 10 billion to set up the Bezos Earth Fund, but only part of that money went to charity last year. The fund provided $ 791 million in grants to environmental organizations in 2020. Bezos also donated $ 100 million to Feeding America, a national network of food banks.

At the same time, Bezos’ value burned up to about $ 188 billion by November 2020, according to the Institute for Policy Research on the left, often criticizing Bezos and billions more. Using these figures – which are a moving target – Bezos delivered about 0.47% of its net worth in 2020. (A spokesperson from Amazon declined to comment.)

Billions of Americans increased their donation to charity in 2020, with the top 50 donors shelling out $ 24.7 billion together to tackle critical problems including the pandemic and economic output and seeking justice of decision. The top 50 donations in 2019 were $ 15.8 billion.

Despite the economic turmoil created by the coronavirus pandemic, total charitable donations – by both billionaires and non-billionaires – in the U.S. increased by 2020, according to a recent estimate.

Price made headlines in 2015 after announcing that he would pay at least $ 70,000 a year to every employee of his company. In the early months of the pandemic, Gravity, a credit card payment processor that works mainly with small businesses, saw its revenue fall by 50%. Price said he avoided layoffs by asking his employees to take pay cuts. The company subsequently repaid those employees.

Price also cut his own salary by $ 1.1 million to $ 70,000 along with the rest of his staff. Some observers have said that if he had maintained his own high pay, he would have more money to donate to charity, he said earlier. But Price doesn’t think “the world needs another billionth philanthropist,” he said, “because we’ve been dependent on billions for philanthropy for so long, and I don’t think that very good job for us. ”

He said he would prefer to see a system with more “justice and integrity” and companies that care about their employees.