Walt Disney’s great-niece praised Warren Buffett’s character – but argued most of his $100 billion fortune should go to the government, not philanthropy

Warren buffett
Warren Buffett. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
  • Walt Disney’s great-niece disagrees with Warren Buffett’s approach to charity.
  • Abigail Disney praised Buffett’s character, but argued the government should get most of his fortune.
  • Buffett is halfway towards his goal of contributing over 99% of his wealth to philanthropy.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Walt Disney’s great-niece praised Warren Buffett’s character in a recent tweet, but disagreed with the billionaire investor’s view that his fortune should go to philanthropic organizations instead of the government.

“I think WB is a good man with a good heart,” Abigail Disney tweeted about Buffett’s recent statement on how he approaches philanthropy. “But much of that money would be more fairly and accountably spent by the gov’t.”

Buffett has pledged to give over 99% of his wealth to good causes, and has already donated half of his Berkshire Hathaway “A” shares – worth about $100 billion today. He supports higher taxes on the super rich, doesn’t believe in dynastic wealth, and views philanthropy as a superior use of his fortune than paying down the national debt, he told ProPublica this month after the outlet reported he only pays a fraction of his net worth in federal income taxes.

Disney’s disagreement with Buffett isn’t surprising, given she criticized his viewpoint in The Atlantic this month. “The government is bad and cannot be trusted with money” is the ideology that drives billionaires to minimize their tax bills, the philanthropist and social activist wrote.

Disney – whose grandfather Roy and great-uncle Walt cofounded The Walt Disney Company – added that when she inherited a chunk of the family fortune at the age of 21, her advisors told her that government bureaucrats would squander her money.

However, Disney’s views have evolved since then. In The Atlantic, she questioned how billionaires can live with themselves when their wealth requires a societal structure that leaves millions of people in a “constant state of terror” about food, shelter, healthcare, and other basic needs.

Disney may have mixed feelings about Buffett, but she’s fully behind MacKenzie Scott, who has given over $8 billion – with no directions or strings attached – to a raft of charities over the past year. “It is the antidote to my piece in the Atlantic,” she tweeted about Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife earlier this month.