You do realise that you probably spend more than that on your daily latte, right?
Being in the red on a $250,000 annual salary might still seem surprising. But taking responsibility for their retirement and their children's future is costly. They are maximizing contributions to two 401(k)s and all flexible spending accounts available to them, and they are squirreling away $8,000 a year into college funds.
How we fell short: As part of an effort to gain publicity, GiveWell's staff (Holden and Elie) posted comments on many blogs that did not give adequate disclosure of our identities (though we did use our real first names); in a smaller number of cases, we posted comments and sent emails that deliberately concealed our identities. Our actions were wrong and rightly damaged GiveWell's reputation. More detail is available via the page for the board meeting that we held in response.
Given the nature of our work, it is essential that we hold ourselves to the highest standards of transparency in everything we do. Our poor judgment caused many people who had not previously encountered GiveWell to become extremely hostile to it.
Steps we have taken to improve: We issued a full public disclosure and apology, and directly notified all existing GiveWell donors of the incident. We held a Board meeting and handed out penalties that were publicly disclosed, along with the audio of the meeting. We increased the Board's degree of oversight over staff, particularly with regard to public communications.
It'd be nice if WaPo didn't bury that detail in there, so it could have started to kill the meme that DC's residents are taxed to death. We're not. And our quality of living is pretty damn good these days.
Dogs are so generous with the scraps their masters let fall to the floor. It pains me to see the lower- and middle-class selflessly volunteer to bring themselves so close to the poverty line just to help someone else move away from it.
Sadly, I'm not surprised someone feels more smug making that kind of a statement.
Just like the Wednesday morning naysayers who pretend that not voting somehow has some moral meaning. If you're doing less, you're still doing less.
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