J and D's Corner

From the Letters Archive

To:    AV Press

Date: 01/2003

Re:    9/11 Millionaires (aka: Are We Nuts?)

Columnist Jeff Jacoby recently articulated a non-PC question which I feel deserves even more public debate: Why is the Government turning relatives of those killed on 9/11 into millionaires with taxpayer money? Compared to the mother and father whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver on the AV freeway, are they somehow more deserving? Is this the genesis of a new national policy, that when someone dies because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time the government owes a couple of tax-free million to their significant other, parents, etc?

My thoughts on this fall back to a more basic observation: Americans are obsessed to the point of blindness with money. We have been conditioned to believe the answer to everything is to simply throw money. Kids not learning basic skills? Obviously, throwing more and more money will fix it.  Is the unemployed underclass too large and still growing?  Obviously, more generous welfare money is the answer. Are the people of an African country now starving because they overthrew the colonial-legacy government and trashed all the farms? Obviously, we need to give them more "aid" money.

We have proven by actual demonstration, over and over again, that these easy, knee jerk responses not only do not fix the problems but actually tend to make them worse. Yet we continue to respond in exactly the same way. It has been said that if you watch someone duplicating the exact same action for the 600th time while happily expecting the final result to be totally different from the previous 599, you are watching a person who is completely insane.