The title of this essay is a direct quote from Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, referring to the families of the victims of the 9-11 attack, including those who are illegal aliens. This is the ultimate entitlement sentiment and demonstrates just how far the entitlement mentality has reached. This Federal program is unprecedented, but now sets a precedent that will add a new layer to the cult of victimology. We now have many of the survivors complaining about the size of the payments, one calling it a “disgrace”, another saying “my children should never have to want for anything”. Some people in Oklahoma are complaining that the Oklahoma City bombing survivors were slighted. Whatever happened to gratitude? What would happen if, God forbid, we were engaged in a total war with massive destruction in multiple locations around the country? Is the government, through its taxpayers, responsible for full restitution as though it is to blame for the attacks? We seem to be treating this as a non-recurring event, but what about the next one and the one after that? The average payment to families of victims of 9-11 is $1.6 million tax-free. How much will be expected next time? And what differentiates these particular victims from other victims equally as innocent?
Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating makes the sensible point that the Federal payments are discriminatory in amount based on the income level of the victim, creating a class based entitlement. He further reminds us that private charities are required to demonstrate need, criteria not required of taxpayers’ money!
Compassion is a great virtue and Americans have always had it in abundance. But compassion is a private virtue and its expression should be as well. There is misguided policy at work in these government payments to victims of 9-11 and we need to seriously question what we have wrought.