Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Why Government Should Not Give Entitlements, Volume MCMXVIII

The Daily Mail profiles the overnight millionaires who are the 9/11 widows, a case-in-point to why the government should just keep its nose out of people's lives. The government is inherently unable to fix anything:

During the feverish days following the attack, Congress established a billion- dollar compensation fund, and grieving wives became overnight millionaires.

No one could have known that for many of them, the money would destroy their lives once again, attracting jealousy, resentful relatives and making them even more depressed. Some would become squandering, spendaholic widows, their payouts fuelling addictions which could not replace the husbands they had lost. Others would become embroiled in legal battles with their families, their lives eaten up by bitterness.

The phrase "I'm from the government, I'm here to help" should be the one thing that scares any American over the horizon. Why isn't the nutroots movement hollering about these entitlements as opposed to Bush's tax cuts for the rich?
The dependants of cleaners through to stockbrokers received between $250,000 and $7 million. The average award was $1.6 million - tax-free - but the widows of high-earners became instant multi-millionaires.

Those who willingly accepted the compensation also found that it brought little solace. Kathy Trant made national news headlines when her spending spree turned her into a celebrity. An attractive blonde, she has reportedly spent $5 million in the past five years, including £300,000 on designer shoes, £1,000 on Botox injections for friends and thousands of dollars on breast enlargement surgery.

'I'm dying inside,' she says. 'Every day when I read something that really bothers me I get so frustrated I go out and I shop because it's the only thing that makes me feel good.' She is battling depression and facing an uncertain future with her children Jessica, 23, Daniel, 17, and 14-yearold Alex.

Another woman's story captured the public imagination for different reasons. When Madeleine Bergin's husband, John, died in the 9/11 attack, she became a fireman's widow.

She received a million-dollar payout, and married her liaison officer and John's best friend in the fire service, Jerry Koenig, who left his wife, Mary, for her after ten years of marriage.

I wish I could get on a multi-million dollar gravy train so I could feel good. This whole thing disgusts me.

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