CURRENT AFFAIRS: Some Realities about Being Rich

Reading about the Madoff swindle, I find so many folks laughing and figuring that the rich deserved what they got. But the rich pay big taxes and are the main source of income for charity groups. In an article in Vanity Fair, there’s this:

The center of the storm was the predominantly Jewish Palm Beach Country Club. The sand-colored building, with its fine restaurants and 18-hole golf course, sits between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Worth. Membership is based not on what you have—the $350,000 initiation fee is the least concern of the admissions committee—but on what you give away. Madoff became a member in 1996. “You won’t get in unless you can demonstrate that you’ve been charitable in a big way,” said Richard Rampell, an accountant with a number of clients who are members. “They want to see a history of many years of giving every year at least what the initiation fee is, and they ask you to prove it.… I have a few clients who give 10 to 20 times that much every year to charity.” One member told me, “We built the hospital, we built the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. We built it all. This is just not a come-and-have-a-party group.”

You hurt the big guys, and believe me, the little guys are going to get hurt as well.

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