Danny, Row Your Boat Ashore

Protesters are occupying Wall Street and streets all around the country as public rage grows over the shameful corporate greed that undermined the economy and put millions of people out of work and homes.

Poverty levels are rising to numbers not seen for half a century.

One-third of children in the District of Columbia go to bed hungry at night.

And Daniel Snyder just bought a $70 million yacht.

By all accounts, the Lady Anne is a magnificent vessel, something quite suitable for the owner of the Redskins, the world's fourth most valuable sports franchise (only the Manchester United soccer team, Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees are more valuable, according to Forbes.)

It's a free country, and whether rich or poor, we are all entitled to do what we want with whatever money we have. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have chosen to give away at least half of their fortunes, challenging other wealthy people to do the same. Bill Conway of the Carlyle Group has asked the public for ideas about how to give away $1 billion, telling the Washington Post's Robert McCartney that, "I have a strong interest in trying to help people who are maybe not as lucky as I am."

Mr. Snyder makes other choices, as is his right (though he might have a tad of buyer's regret over some of those football players recently.) Certainly, Mr. Snyder's choices at the yacht store should not receive greater scrutiny than, say, what's in the First Lady's shopping bag at Target. (Note to Michelle Obama: Target is best at 8am on Sundays, no photographers around then, trust me!)

I do think that consumers at all levels should have adequate information to make their major purchasing decisions -- you know, a bit of comparison shopping before plunking down their plastic. So, as a public service to Mr. Snyder and others who are wondering how to spend their next $70 million or more, here are some ideas:

What $70 Million Could Also Buy:

  • 3 meals a day for 19,178 children for a full year (@$10 per day)
  • Decent housing for a year for 5,833 families (@$1000 per month)
  • Employee share of family health care premium for one year (@$4,129)
  • 2,333 college scholarships for full tuition, room, board (@$30,000 per year)

Oh, so much need, so little money!

So, Danny, next time you're cruising up the Washington Channel, take a few hours to row your little boat ashore and come over to Trinity for a talk about investing in this city's greatest needs. I can introduce you to some fabulous students who would be glad to help you with your purchasing choices. You'll enjoy those midnight cruises even more by knowing that your good fortune has also helped many other people.