The Washington Post treated us to "five myths about billionaires" this morning. Incredibly, they missed the most obvious one: that billionaires know anything special about what is good for the country and the world.

Most billionaires (at least those who didn't inherit the money) are probably smart and hard-working, but so are millions of other people. What most distinguishes someone like Bill Gates from the hundreds of thousands of other software entrepreneurs is luck and sharp elbows. Suppose IBM had refused to allow Gates to keep control of the Dos operating system? Gates might still be very rich, but certainly not the richest man in the world. Alternatively, if the government still enforced anti-trust laws Microsoft might have faced serious penalties for engaging in textbook anti-competitive practices to get and keep a near monopoly in operating systems, Gates also would not have the fortune he has today.

Anyhow, there is no reason to think that Gates' luck and ruthlessness make him particularly competent to pass judgment on world poverty, education, or any of the other issues for which he is now viewed as an authority. The same applies to the other billionaire policy types cited in the piece. While these people obviously have the money to ensure that their views carry force in the world, there is no more reason to think that these billionaires' judgments on public policy carry particular value than the judgments of people who win the lottery.