Time Magazine Person of the Year Punkout / Bono
I don't even know anyone who reads Time Magazine anymore, so I don't know why this award still gets airtime.
Time doesn't even take this award seriously anymore. I think that they copped out way back in 1982 when " the computer " won the award. But for four times out of the last eight years, the winner has not been a single person. In 1998, it was Bill Clinton and Ken Starr. In 2002 it was two women " whistleblowers ". In 2003 it was " The American Soldier ". Now in 2005 it is " The Good Samaritans ".
Naming multiple winners or an entire class of people like " The American Soldier " is a great way of avoiding a decision on a single winner.
Now, lets look at this year's winner. Bill Gates made a fortune with Microsoft and is giving tons of it away in a focused and effective way. That's great. And wife Melinda is very involved in the foundation so fair play to her also.
But lets look at Bono. He's a likeable guy and his efforts on behalf of African aid, better terms of trade, and debt relief are all sincere.
I won't question the effectiveness of debt relief and monetary aid, here, other than people like Paul Theroux, who know Africa very well, have said that recently that this only give indigenous elites more opportunities to steal from their populations.
But lets look very closely at Mr. Bono. He has been preaching the gospel of aid to Afica for some years ago ; I heard him give a pitch for it at Madison Square Garden a couple of weeks ago.
But while the very rich Mr.Gates has given away a lot of his fortune, has Bono given away anything to Africa himself? If he is, I have not heard about it.
OK, Europeans ain't into charity by individuals the way those terrible Yanks are. This aid and debt relief would run into the billions and billions, and would have to come from somewhere. That means from national governments.
Where do national governments get their revenues? A huge chunk in all countries comes from income taxes from individuals. How much income tax does Bono pay, to fund his African dream? Zero. That is not a misprint.
In Ireland, " artists " are exempt from the income tax, while my pals in urban and rural Ireland who earn a salary pay a very high income tax. I thought about this in Madison Square Garden when I heard Bono give his little talk. A quick Google search shows that this embarrassing fact has been noted by others as well.
Bono gets to feel good and do good, but pays zero into the kitty himself? Surely, this is the best of all possible worlds.
Bono, congratulations on the great award.