Why should WE pay for 911 victim compensation?

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Heard today the gubmint (via the taxpayers, of course) is going to award an average of $1.3 Million to the families of 911 victims. I just don't get this at all.

I am not Bin Laden, I am not involved in Al Qaeda, I did not build the World Trade Center, I do not own an airline or an insurance company. Why should I PAY FOR THIS??!!

I can hear it already, all of you bleeding hearts sobbing and whimpering about how cruel it is for me to not want to give up my taxes for the people who lost someone. But first, just think about it. The 911 tragedy was no different than other tragedies that happen every day except it was on a larger scale, all at once.

Does the government give a million dollars to the spouse of someone who gets shot in a bank robbery, or a drive-by shooting? What about a car accident, or any of the thousands of other ways that someone can be killed?

What happened to the responsibility of the insurance companies, the airlines, and the building owners? Aren't they required to compensate these victims for a reasonable amount? The airlines are most definitely responsible for allowing terrorists to get on board their plane. The designers of the Trade Center are responsible for designing a building which collapses, killing 10 times as many people as those killed by the original collision.

Why doesn't the government require these organizations and their insurers to take responsibility and deliver the appropriate compensation? Instead we have Dubya, who not only does NOT hold them responsible, but AWARDS the airlines with $16 Billion taxpayer dollars! Instead of doing the right thing, he simply sends the bill to the taxpayer, because it is the EASIEST thing to do.

I'm fed up with this corporate kiss-ass of a president and all of the bullshit he keeps dumping on us!

-- (Dubya sucks @ corporate. cock), December 20, 2001


"I am not Bin Laden, I am not involved in Al Quaeda, I did not build the World Trade Center..."

Bet you never owned a slave either. Bet you're not responsible for 48% of births in California being both hispanic and out of wedlock. Bet you don't know how paltry 1.3M a head in NY is compared to the cost of things you do or don't want to bring up. Bet you're young.

-- Carlos (riffraff@cybertime.net), December 20, 2001.

Nope, I'm not young Carlos. Feel free to post whatever you like about any of your other concerns. I have no objection, and will probably agree with you. But just because the government has been fucking us for years doesn't mean we should bend over for this ream job.

This one especially gets my goat because it is a blatant and excessive exception to any previous policy. It's one thing if a policy has been established and agreed upon by the voters, but the current administration seems to be inventing new policy as they go, without anyone's approval.

The sympathy and generosity of the people has already been demonstrated in this case, raising over $1 million per family in donations. It isn't necessary for the government to also play a role as a caretaker, especially when it isn't their money to begin with. That fucking bastard Dubya is just trying to get his ratings up.

-- (fuck@the.government), December 20, 2001.

Victims' families to get average of $1.5 million

December 20, 2001 Posted: 7:24 PM EST (0024 GMT)

By Terry Frieden CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Families of victims of the September 11 attacks will receive, on average, about $1.5 million from government and other sources -- excluding charities -- under regulations announced Thursday by the Justice Department.

The range will be from $300,000 to families of single people earning as little as $10,000 per year to as much as $3 million for top-earners with large families.

Kenneth Feinberg, the special master appointed by the attorney general, reported the "interim final rule" Thursday afternoon at the Justice Department.

"It is our view that, absent extraordinary circumstances, awards in excess of $3 million, tax-free, will rarely be appropriate in light of individual needs and resources," Feinberg's 76-page report said.

"At the same time, we want to ensure that victims' families are receiving at least a minimum level of resources to help meet their needs and rebuild their lives.

"Thus, we have concluded that the families of deceased [married] victims should receive a combined total of at least $500,000 from this program, other state and federal programs, life insurance policies and other sources of compensation," the report said.

Feinberg said the plan provides an alternative compensation scheme to the conventional civil court system: a method of providing substantial and quick compensation for those who elect to participate.

Those who choose not to participate would retain the right to file civil suits. Feinberg called that step unwise.

"If you decide to litigate, the likelihood of receiving a substantial award in court is diminished," he said. The extent of liability of the airlines is uncertain and, "even if you receive an award, it will be subject to an appeal."

Under government regulations, all eligible recipients can receive an immediate advance payment of $50,000 in cases involving death and $25,000 in cases involving serious physical injury.

Offices in New York and Virginia will be open at 1 p.m. Friday to begin processing applications. They will be processed within 120 days.

The payout will be calculated based on the combination of economic loss -- what the person would have earned -- and non-economic loss -- pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of consortium.

From that total, life insurance or other death benefits will be subtracted. Charity payments, though, will not be subtracted, Feinberg said. He predicted the average award, before death benefits are subtracted, would be $1,650,000, tax-free.

Under the formula, a 41-year-old claimant with two children earning about $80,000 per year would get $1,583,000.

In an effort to even the disparity in payments, Feinberg capped -- for the purposes of his computations -- the salaries of the top 2 percent of earners at about $240,000 per year.

Claimants who feel their award is unfair can ask for a new review or can submit documentation on their behalf, he said.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the program will cost around $6 billion -- before the deductions are factored in. Feinberg called it "an unprecedented display of taxpayer generosity."

Still, the program "cannot possibly provide a full measure of relief to those who have suffered as a result of September 11," he said. "Whatever we do is of small comfort."

Everyone wounded or killed in the attacks is eligible, regardless of nationality or immigration status.

Eligibility is not entirely spelled out in the new regulations. Whether same-sex domestic partners would be eligible is up to the discretion of the special master.

A spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, an organization representing the interests of gays and lesbians, said he "remains concerned."

"Domestic partners named in wills are clearly taken care of, and those who live in New York we believe are eligible," said David Smith. "However, partners not named in wills and not in New York, it is uncertain and is within the special master's discretion."

Meanwhile, the Senate and the House Thursday passed the Victims of Terrorism Tax Relief Act of 2001, which extends tax relief to families of persons killed as a result of the September 11 attacks.

Victims of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City and the victims of the recent anthrax attacks are also eligible for this relief.

In addition to refunding income taxes for 2000 and 2001, the measure provides a minimum $10,000 rebate to the victims who did not make enough money to pay income tax.

The bill also shields a certain amount of assets from the federal estate tax and protects families from taxation on death benefits, charitable contributions and debt forgiveness.

"Passing this legislation today is an important step in making sure that these families, who have been through so much, receive the financial relief that they need," said Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York.

-- update (now up @ to. $1.5 million), December 20, 2001.

Call your Congressman and Senator, if enough people bitch maybe they will get the message that this stinks.But I doubt it.

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), December 20, 2001.

Now this lady is taking the correct approach...

Sept. 11 widow sues United Airlines

December 20, 2001 Posted: 5:09 PM EST (2209 GMT)

By Phil Hirschkorn CNN New York Bureau

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A widow whose husband was on board one of two hijacked jets that slammed into the World Trade Center September 11 filed suit Thursday against United Airlines, charging the carrier failed to provide adequate security.

The woman, Ellen Mariani of Derry, New Hampshire, filed the lawsuit through her attorney in federal court in Manhattan.

Her husband, Louis Mariani, 58, was a passenger on United Flight 175, the second plane to hit the Trade Center, crashing into the South Tower around 9:03 a.m., killing all 65 people on board.

The husband and wife were taking separate flights from Boston to Los Angeles to attend the wedding of Ellen Mariani's daughter from a previous marriage.

Attorney Don Nolan said he believes the suit is the first against either United or American Airlines, which each lost two planes that day.

American Flight 11, also traveling from Boston to Los Angeles, crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m.

American Flight 77, from Washington to Los Angeles, crashed into the Pentagon. United Flight 93, from Newark to San Francisco, crashed in Pennsylvania, and authorities believe it was headed to Washington before passengers fought for control of the jet.

Nolan said Mrs. Mariani decided to forgo money available from the federal victims compensation fund. Families applying for those benefits must agree not to sue the airlines for damages.

"She does not want the U.S. taxpayers to pay for her claim with the airline," Nolan said. "United Airlines was fully insured."

The suit alleges United "breached it duty of care for the safety and security of the passengers" aboard Flight 175.

"There was a lack of security," Nolan said.

Nolan has represented plaintiffs in other disasters, including US Air Flight 42, which crashed outside Pittsburgh in 1994; TWA Flight 800, which exploded off New York's Long Island in 1996; and last year's crash of Singapore Air Flight 006 in Taiwan.

He also is pursuing legal action against Airbus and American for the November 19 crash of an American Airlines jet in Queens, New York.

Nolan says he expects the plaintiffs to grow beyond Mrs. Mariani. "Hers is the first, but we've had dozens of people contact us," he said. Mariani declined to be interviewed.

Two families who lost loved ones in the September 11 attacks have filed suits against Osama bin Laden in the same federal court.

-- (fuck@the.government), December 20, 2001.

This wasn't taxpayer generosity if we didn't get to vote for it. Generosity was expressed through donations into the $1 billion fund.

-- helen (stinky@money.deals), December 20, 2001.

They are just trying to buy off those people so they ALL won't sue the airlines into oblivion.

I don't understand why they just don't sieze OBL's cash to pay'em, why throw a dick in us?

This scheme ain't all Bush either, the politicians got it figgered that most Americans are too timid, PC and/or giving to raise a bunch of shit over this tactic, given the ultra-patriotic mood the nation is in.

This is bullshit, pure and simple.

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), December 21, 2001.


I was not referring to the taxpayers being generous, they should not be required to be. My point was that the system works fine by itself. The amount of money collected by donations and many charitable events was enough to give over $1 million to every family that was dependent on each of the victims. This is above and beyond what they should be able to collect through their insurance policies and from the responsible organizations. It should be WAY MORE than sufficient, some of these people will be living like kings just because a relative died. There is no need for the gubmint to hand them more of our money. They should just make damn sure that security regulations are enforced and responsible parties are held responsible, THAT is their job.

I think capnfun nailed it when he said they are just trying to appease these people so they won't take the proper course of action and sue the damn airlines out of business. I say let the damn airlines go bankrupt. Until they are willing to take responsibility for their actions, they don't deserve to be in business. They will be replaced by other businesses that can do the job more effectively.

-- (fuck@the.government), December 21, 2001.

This makes no sense. Workers had insurance, donations where overwhelming. The Airlines were thrown money and laid off their workers, and the government is fighting giving them a little extra unemployment compensation. The airlines sucked up the money with no concern for their employees, they were going downhill before 911.

People suffer losses every day that throw them into poverty, who gives a shit? They are labeled leaches and a drag on society. Thousands of people are loosing their jobs due to 911, the economy is tanking, we have stripped the programs that help people thrown into poverty through no fault of their own. If circumstances beyond a person's control makes them destitute, they are considered leaches, sucking money out of the taxes of hard working citizens. Yet this billion dollars to the families of 911 victims is being spent without tax payers getting any say. Welfare has ended, social services cost a lot because it pays for foster care, seniors, shelters and a bunch of little known services, women can no longer get pregnant and go on welfare, they have to work..baby or not.

People need to realize the old cry of tax money going to unwed mothers is no longer valid. Sure, there are exceptions, but they are few.

Corperate welfare is sucking taxes from the working stiff, it doesn't make much sense to complain about welfare mothers getting $400-500 a month when profitable businesses are being handed million, billions in the name of getting the economy back on track, especially when the CEO's get million dollar bonuses and the workers are getting laid off.

Something is very wrong here. The money for the family victims was a knee jerk reaction, created during the confusion and shock of the act.

The government needs to do as people should do, give yourself time to calm down and think rationally before making important decisions. Unfortunatly when something drastic happens, your emotions tend to be in control, if you give yourself time to calm down and think rationally, you make better decisions.

This whole compensation thing is scewed so badly it will backfire.

Every time I turn around I see some "project" that benifits the 911 victims families. It seems to the the buzzword, it's to the point where I'm irritated and tired of hearing about it, tired of every where I turn people are using 911 victims families to further their cause. There are so many other people who are in need, through no fault of their own who are being ignored.

-- Cherri (jessam5@home.com), December 21, 2001.


Like capnfun said, the main objective here is to pacify the victims before they go after the airlines and the insurance companies who are obligated to pay the bill. The government has promised that most will get an immediate $50,000, and a minumum of $300,000 within 4 months. But they must agree not to sue the airlines. Most people will take the easy handout rather than going through all the bullshit court proceedings because they know they'll probably get fucked by the airlines and our corrupt judicial system anyway.

Welcome to Dubya's New World Order, where corporations are a hell of a lot more important than people.

-- (Dubya is @ corporate. puppet), December 21, 2001.

This is perhaps the sickest part about the whole deal...

"The range will be from $300,000 to families of single people earning as little as $10,000 per year to as much as $3 million for top-earners with large families."

Discrimination based on income??!!

In essence they are saying that one person's life is more valuable than someone else's life because of how much money he made. Disgusting.

-- (disgusting @ value. system), December 21, 2001.

Total bullshit.

I shall indeed write my representatives today!

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeeD@yahoo.com), December 21, 2001.

I don't like it either; it really sucks. But guess what, no matter who pays the bill, indirectly it always comes from us, the working class. Whether the insurance companies pay, charities or the gov pay, we end up poorer in the end. Insurance companies just raise their rates, no big deal to them. Even now my company is still negotiating health rates because of 9-11. I know that I will need to pay more monthly for health benefits. So (i must be really jaded) I can't get worked up over this. I know whether I give to charity, insurance or taxes, "they" will consume it one way or another.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), December 21, 2001.

Dear f***thegovernment, I was referring to the following quote in one of the articles posted above:

--The Congressional Budget Office estimates the program will cost around $6 billion -- before the deductions are factored in. Feinberg called it "an unprecedented display of taxpayer generosity." --

It seems to me that the insurance industry is behind this lottery-style giveaway plan. Wanna bet these people are going to be asked to agree not to sue the city, the architects, the government (lack of) intelligence services...etc?

Ok, I was really pissed off by the news interview with the young mother of two whose husband died in the building with no insurance. Her house looked like a small apartment building, her mini van cost more than all of my possessions put together, and her two kids were swinging on a backyard set that our rural school system couldn't afford to buy. She wants her share of the pie.

I really don't want to hand her a million dollars of tax money in addition to the million dollars she's supposedly entitled to from the donation fund. I don't begrudge her normal levels of state aid -- child care while she learns a job skill or subsidized housing (on a more modest scale), but her husband obviously made enough money to have taken out a simple term life insurance policy. Their failure to plan for the future has been glorified into some kind of patriotic act -- and at the risk of being un-pc about it, most of the dead didn't know what had happened or why they were dying.

My job was immediately and drastically affected by the attack, and it never occurred to me that the nation owed me anything for it. I figured it was the unlucky break of working for the travel industry. It was the best job in the area at the time I applied. If it isn't now, that's just my tough luck and not an excuse to get a blank check from any of you.

-- helen (searching@for.congressional.voting.records.on.this), December 21, 2001.


The lady you mentioned above should have at least had a life insurance policy on her husband. They aren't that expensive and to not have one is just plain stupid. But the fact of the matter is that she should still be able to recover a large settlement from the airlines, they have insurance and they are liable for the safety of the passengers. This would be in addition to a large amount that she will receive from donations, so that should be plenty. There's no good reason to use taxpayer money for this.

Another thing wrong about this is that the government is opening a can of worms. A lot of the families of victims of the Oklahoma City bombing are complaining that they did not get any money from the government. It can go on and on and on, and a lot of these people will sue the government or create more problems.

Dubya said he would not touch Social Security money unless there is a war or a recession. Now that we have both of those conditions, he feels it is perfectly justified to run up a huge deficit so there will be nothing left for things that really need to be taken care of in the future. He doesn't care because he'll be out of office before the shit hits the fan and it will be someone else's mess to clean up.

-- (Dubya @ wasteful. asshole), December 21, 2001.

The spending is DEFINATLY getting out of hand.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), December 22, 2001.

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