WASHINGTON - JULY 23: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates attends a press conference announcing his foundation's support (with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg) for a global new anti-smoking initiative July 23, 2008 in New York City. Gates and Bloomberg announced their combined contribution of half a billion dollars to combat global smoking. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Bill Gates
I can't resist asking: what kind of message is Gates sending? It seems like something less than strong support. Consider that the donation is slightly more than .001 percent of his net worth ($54 billion, according to Forbes). To translate: the net worth of the average American family is about $430,000, so Gates' donation is equivalent to $400 from a middle-class family.
That amount registers opposition but it doesn't reflect a huge amount of urgency. Especially when you're the richest man in the world.