Leigh Anne Tuohy On The Rich and Superrich- “God gives people money to see how you’re going to handle it”

I wrote a post almost a year ago, Leigh Anne Tuohy – “God gives people money to see how you’re going to handle it”.

This is by far my most popular post to date, accounting for over 3400 of the near 42,000 views I have received to date, so that almost ten percent of my views have come from this one post.

I’m not surprised by this, as Ms. Tuohy’s words are among the wisest ever uttered about the “burden” of being rich.

I’m writing this post because the New York Times is running a series of articles about the “superrich.” Indeed, the entire edition of the latest edition of The New York Times Sunday Magazine is devoted to this witless topic.

I haven’t read this issue in full, nor do I plan to. However, I just looked over my printed copy and found it contains an article by James Traub, The Measures of Wealth that says, in part (emphasis added):

America is full of places where the earthbound need not grind their teeth in envy. I’m guessing that in Portland — either one — they don’t hire Rod Stewart to sing at birthday parties. Even the rich people may fly commercial. And yet they still have a progressive arts scene, excellent ethnic restaurants, a lively downtown, good schools. My family would be able to afford there what we could never afford here. But we’re not going anywhere. We stand with the 51 percent who think New York is worth what it costs; I’m just not sure why.

I know something of the schools to which the rich and superrich send their children. My wife taught for two years at the Ethical Culture School in New York City. One day, while her kindergarten class was on the roof during recess, she heard several of her students comparing the chocolate mousse that was served at various hotels in Berne, Switzerland.

A few years later, around 1980, I recall reading that the more elite of New York City’s private schools administered a test to potential pre-school and kindergarten students. Among the questions was one that was stunningly simple, “What color is Big Bird?” Simple indeed … if your family has a color TV set.

A few years later, after I moved to Chappaqua, in the suburbs of New York City, our school district for several years always closed for a week in mid-February to save on heating costs. When they proposed eliminating it, I head several parents and students complain that this was unfair, as it would deprive them of the week in Cancun or the Caribbean that they felt was their due.

Mr. Traub notes that cities such as Portland, ME, and Portland, OR, have good schools. New York City also has many fine schools, but it also has some of our nation’s worst, as do Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angeles, and all the other large cities in our nation.

Let me end with my own “two cents worth,” though I offer it for free.

I would be very surprised — make that amazed — if even two percent of the rich and super-rich donated two percent of more of their income each year to help our nation’s educators in their vital mission.

Indeed, I would “bank on it,” as I know they are hard at work thinking of many other ways to spend the oodles of boodle that are sitting in their banks.

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One Comment

  1. Posted December 23, 2007 at 13:06 | Permalink | Reply

    I have to agree, I don’t see any of the very rich giving to education. I see them giving to other charities but education is always overlooked.

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