Howard Hughes was the template for Tony Stark (Iron Man) in many ways that included womanizing, being a brilliant entrepreneur, aviator, inventor, businessman, and lastly hating taxes so much that it led to the creation of one of the most powerful and well funded medical groups in the world.
Okay, maybe not so much that last one (as far as I know, sorry Tony), but Hughes funded the Howard Hughes Medical Institute with money he earned from his aircraft company. He did this because the IRS came knocking and to make sure he didn't lose any money to the government he funneled most of it to the medical foundation. When Hughes died in 1976, the institute got $15 million in funding, and as of today, the endowment is sitting at $18.2 billion.
I am not decrying Hughes' move to use the institute as a tax shelter at all; I just wish the top 1% today were so generous in their greed. There are numerous tax shelters for money, but none do as much for science as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute which has today captured live HD video of a living cell moving through a living body.
I am in awe of this because it shows how insane and brilliant and chaotic life is. The way that cell moves through the body is like something out of a science fiction film, but today we can see that it is merely a fact. Imagine what else we could do if more people like Howard Hughes donated more to the sciences?
Greed can be used for good sometimes, but it would be a better world if the bottom line wasn't the only line that counted.