Greed

Calpundit has two good posts on greed up today.

In the first one, he skewers the notion that overcompensated senior executives get their pay because they take commensurate risks, by pointing out that Richard Grasso is the CEO of a regulated entity; one that exists both as a public and private sector organization.

In the second, he hits on something I’d been meaning to blog for a while (which is made more newsworthy by the recent, insane, court decision that lets 9/11 victims families…already richly compensated…sue) the wild disparities between what the Manhattan and Pentagon survivors get, and what the survivors of those killed in Afghanistan and Iraq get.

I was forwarded a Limbaugh column on this subject, which was the first thing I saw on it; I detest the guy, but have to give credit where credit is due. And an issue where Easterbrook, Limbaugh, Kevin and I all agree…Easterbook nails it in the quote Kevin uses:

“Families who have taken the federal compensation have, so far, received average awards of $1.6 million, tax-free. Families of the United States personnel murdered by Al Qaeda in the Kenya and Tanzania terror attacks of 1998 received, on average, nothing. Families of the several hundred United States military personnel killed in Afghanistan fighting to destroy al Qaeda, and killed in Iraq fighting at least in part against terrorism, received, on average, $9,000, taxable.

Now some 9/11 families are saying $1.6 million isn’t enough. Set aside whether they should be receiving anything from taxpayers, given the myriad other circumstances in which Americans die in various horrible events every bit as traumatic and devastating to their families, who receive nothing at all. Assume for the sake of argument that something about 9/11 justifies offering victims’ estates a very large special payment. Yet some 9/11 families are saying very large is not large enough. This is greed; it is employing the memory of lost loved ones for gold-digging.”

Kevin is wrong to call this ‘a fitting tribute for the second anniversary’. It’s disgusting and infuriating, and shows little credit to the survivors pursuing more money, the lawyers serving them, or U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein, the judge who made this ludicrous decision.

10 thoughts on “Greed”

  1. Yes, I feel like a real fool for donating $1000 to the Cantor Fitz relief fund.

    Should have given it to African medical relief, or the old standbys, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, American Cancer, March of Dimes.

  2. Stryker,

    All the military now get $250,000 in SGLI, plus burial and other incidentals. This increase occured before 9/11. But its still nothing compared to $1.6M and they want more (Aka the lawyers want a cut).

    Just an FYI

  3. I wonder if the populace has the stomach to take these people to task, as they should be, IMO. Though the greed is disgusting, the lawsuit might not be a wholly bad thing, for two reasons:

    1) This lawsuit highlights the stupidity inherent in Congress’s abdication of responsibility – i.e. a formal declaration of war. I doubt this legal action would get much traction if the 9/11 attacks were legaly an act of war.

    2) These lawsuits might bring out the full story of what happened on 9/11. There are some parts of the story that have not been told to the public, in my opinion. The Transporation Security Administration may have been created with a reason.

    I’ll bet that airport security was infiltrated. It’s normal al Qaeda procedure to penetrate security – look at that mainframe computer they stole in Oz a few days ago.

    Those hijackers had more than boxcutters. There was a secret document that leaked onto World Net Daily after 9/11. And then there’s flight 93 – how did debris end up so far away from the very compact crater? One of the 911 operators talking to a guy in the airplane’s toilet thought she heard an explosion. Maybe the hijackers weren’t bluffing when they said they had bombs.

    I think the reason this stuff has been kept classified is to avoid lawsuits. The main goal would be to protect the Civil Reserve Air Fleet. But now that the suits are actually happening, there might not be any reason to keep it secret any more.

  4. buffpilot,

    The $250,000 from SGLI is an insurance payout. It’s not mandatory, and you have to pay for it, via monthly deductions from your pay. It’s not a particularly outstanding value compared to private term life insurance.

    The death gratuity for servicemembers who die in the line of duty is $6000. Rummy shot down an attempt to double it to $12,000

  5. Quick fact check, AL:

    From the CNN article:

    “As a result of the ruling, court officials were preparing for a possible legal onslaught at the Manhattan courthouse as early as this week as some people choose lawsuits over applying to the federal victims compensation fund.

    Empahsis mine. The compensation fund and lawsuits are either/or. No one who accepts compensation can sue; no one who sues will be eligible for compensation.

    The point of the compensation fund, rightly or wrongly, was to head off lawsuits by offering a guaranteed payout in exchange for not suing.

    Now, I personally don’t think there’s any merit to this suit; nor, for that matter, do I think there’s any merit to to the idea of paying compensation to people who 1) in many cases, were rich to begin with and 2) who should be carrying life insurance anyway. My wife and I pay a couple hundred bucks a year for insurance; I woudn’t bother if I thought the government would bail me out. But then, of course the government wouldn’t bail me out, since apparently only some unexpected deaths deserve Congressional attention.

    OK, enough ranting. As frustrating as it is philosophically, I can’t see a legal basis to throw these suits out, unfortunately, so they’ll go forward, and we just have to hope the jury remembers the million-dollar compensatin check these people refused when it makes its decision.

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