Born on Third Base

Chuck Collins, heir to a wealthy trust fund, decided at age 26 to transfer his wealth to four grant-making foundations. He made this decision after working with a group of mobile home owners struggling to raise money to buy the land where they parked their trailers.

Collins could no longer justify to himself his advantages over the “99 percent” (including those mobile home owners) because he was born wealthy. He had paid his college expenses out of his trust fund, yet had seen that fund double during his college years.

He likens being born wealthy to being Born on Third Base, the title of his book. He did not earn the education or the upper class home or the security and safety that would forever give him an advantage over the 99 percent, even if he gave away his money.

However, Collins is not interested in shaming the wealthy. His goal is to convince the wealthy to become partners in building a more just society.

He points out the benefits reaped by Americans of a few decades ago which grew the economy of the country: GI education bills, cheaper college tuition, affordable mortgages for homes, workers’ wages that were not so unequal to those of their bosses, higher taxation on the wealthy.

He believes some redistribution of income is only fair, since the wealthy have themselves benefitted from subsidies for years: tax breaks, for example, which amount to a subsidy for the more well off. He favors a “GI Bill for the next generation.”

He wants the help of the rich in creating a tax system in which the wealthy pay their fair share. He hopes to persuade them to understand “the shortsightedness of an economic system that funnels most income to the few.”

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