My apologies Mr. Feinberg.
I have written a number of things up here, laying the blame for the slow payments of reparations firmly at your feet. I questioned your promises. I doubted your ability to do the job. I insinuated you were naive.
I felt that by promising people they would get their emergency payments in twenty-four hours and businesses inside a week you might be doing what we in the social work world call “setting yourself up to fail.” It’s a simple idea really, one where we as case managers help guide clients into setting realistic expectations and goals because if they set them too high, they are making it impossible to see themselves as successful. This only brings clients the opportunity to beat themselves up if/when they fail, one more time and gives them permission to give up, way too easy.
Kind of like what I thought you did, Ken, both in the setting of too high of an expectation and in the giving up part, but it turns out I was wrong. It isn’t you at all that’s causing the problems here. Apparently it is the people of the Gulf Coast, more specifically, the people in the Gulf Coast who are not giving you enough information on their claims, and those who are being outright fraudulent.
The way I had been thinking about all of this, it was you what with that whole set up to fail thing. I understood why you made the promises you did; I really do. The Gulf Coast was fucked up, the people were very depressed, hope was being lost everywhere and people were losing everything. You had the perfect foil in BP, the corporation that cares (about the bottom line) and it must have been too irresistible to not play the hero, and those promises we all read in the papers were great. They instilled a new sense of hope in a large group of people who surely needed it, until reality set in and you couldn’t deliver.
And why again couldn’t you deliver?
From the Alabama Press Register:
Kenneth Feinberg said more than a third of the roughly 104,000 applicants need to do more to back up their claims, and thousands of claims have no documentation at all. He added that the amount sought in some cases bears no resemblance to actual losses, such as a fisherman’s claim for $10 million “on what was obviously a legitimate claim of a few thousand dollars.”
“We have scores of applications for financial aid that appear to be fraudulent,” and are being reviewed for possible forwarding to the Justice Department for criminal investigation, Feinberg said. Some of the suspect claims have obvious discrepancies, while others appear to be multiple filings for the same loss, he said.
Of course though, Ken…it isn’t really all their fault, right?
I mean sure, at least 95% of the blame is theirs, but what about the other 5%?
Some things could have been done differently, maybe before you made your promises you might have considered the much trumpeted findings in all those different studies, the ones that found 10% of claimants seeking reparations after tragedies will have exaggerated or fraudulent claims? Those numbers were all over the internet, but maybe you didn’t see those reports, or maybe you just didn’t understand that not all displays of human nature are positive?
“At the beginning, it’s always rough,” said Feinberg, an attorney who previously oversaw claims for 9/11 victims.
Or maybe you did.
Okay then, maybe when you finally called the frauds out, you were taking a cue from the hearings involving British Petroleum, Transocean and Halliburton where the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon is everybody’s fault but their own? Or maybe you didn’t anticipate the explosion in the press when you couldn’t back up your words, or anticipate the complaints of the Justice Department, “The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill has disrupted the lives of thousands upon thousands of individuals, often cutting off the income on which they depend,” the department said in a Sept. 17 letter to you. “Many of these individuals and businesses simply do not have the resources to get by while they await processing.”
Maybe now that the pressure is on, you’re just trying to point fingers.
You know what?
You could have taken a more cautious approach back in August. You could stop trying to blame the people victimized by this oil spill for the slowness of the payments you were brought in to oversee. Maybe I shouldn’t have apologized at all for this time-frame problem that you created. Maybe you should quiet down now, do your job and go home.
In fact, having now thought this through again, I take back my apology.
Instead, as I’ve written before, and as long as you keep spouting off like this, I’m forced to now write again: the people of the Gulf Coast have taken enough shit over the past six months, they don’t need any more of it from you. You decided to play the impossible hero, and part of being a hero is to not blame others when things don’t go as you planned.
Maybe tonight, when the workday is over and you’re sitting in your hotel room or rented house, you should read what Sheryl Lindsay, a beach wedding planner said when asked about her business: “We don’t have any business left.”
No business, no customers, all because of the spill.
She filed claims for $240,000 dollars for lost business and from you, has received $7,700 dollars.
Think about this instead of blaming others, Ken…and then get going, you’re making progress, but you’ve got a long way to go.
Read the article:
Have a nice day.