Once upon a time, the superwealthy endowed their tax-exempt charitable foundations and then turned them over to boards of trustees to run. … Today’s multi-billionaires like Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates are a different species of philanthropy.
Education-reform philanthropists justify their massive political spending as a necessary counterweight to the teachers unions; yet, the philanthropists can, and consistently do, far outspend the unions.
multibillionaires acting as philanthropists aggravate the problem [of plutocracy] by channeling vast sums into the nation’s immense nonprofit sector. Their top-down modus operandi makes this a powerful tool for shaping public policy according to individual beliefs and whims. And they receive less critical scrutiny than other actors in public life. Most people admire expressions of generosity and selflessness and are loath to find fault.