Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The 9/11 Windfall

Fascinating article in the Village Voice about people who have literally profited over the last decade from 9/11.  What was tragedy and heartbreak for many became filthy lucre for some.

Our former mayor is the most famous example of 9/11 profiteering (he apparently is now worth $52 million -- wow!). But this exploitation of tragedy for profit goes way beyond him and includes companies that have gotten sketchy tax breaks to move to downtown Manhattan, "witnesses" to the attack who has gone on the lecture circuit, and the abuse of government contracts by shady security companies. There's also a myriad of strange "charities" and "non-profits" that have raised money off the attacks in order to "help" the victims, etc. It's been quite a cash cow.

Oh, and did you know that the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero is not a national memorial? No, it's a private, profit-making enterprise. And the people who run it are earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year! There's even, I kid you not, 9/11 wine. Yes, you read that right.

The greatest tragedy in our nation's history has become a big business for many. Some people are evening calling it blood money -- but I'm not quite prepared to go that far.

Still, it's a tribute to the unending power of greed. The lust for money is never sated. Even this great tragedy was seen by many as a chance to cash in. These people aren't doing anything illegal (well, as far as we know), they just have no sense of decency and see everything as an opportunity to wheel and deal and make a quick buck. Hey, it's the American way. 

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