Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 3, 2006 / 5 Iyar, 5766

‘Victims’ victimizing the taxpayers

By John Stossel


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I always thought victimhood was something to avoid. It meant that something bad was happening to you, something you didn't want. But since today's laws give victims special power and attention, some people seem to aspire to the title of "victim."


What taught me how far things have gone was one small workplace in Ithaca, N.Y., where a group of "victims" said they were being poisoned by the office air. This was odd since the building was in a rural area and the windows could be opened. The air seemed fine to me, but the workers' demands might make you sick.


They complained chemicals emanating from a new rug gave them a zillion different symptoms — memory loss, headaches, sore throats, "severe mouth infections," a "metal taste in your mouth," "shortness of breath," and "burning, itching, tearing eyes."


Four said they were sick all the time. They said the building gave them a disease called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). This meant just a whiff of copier fluid could disable them. Their doctors went along, declaring them "totally disabled."


Their employer was Tompkins County's Social Services Department, the agency charged with dispensing services to "victims." Is that a coincidence? Or does being in the "victim business" make you susceptible to becoming a victim? I think it's the latter. Servicing victims all day encourages you to focus on things being wrong.


The Social Services Department went out of its way to accommodate its "sick" employees. Tompkins County hired an "environmental expert" to test if there was anything wrong with the building. His tests found no problems, but he acknowledged that the office photocopiers gave off fumes. So the county installed vents to suck any fumes out of the building. One vent cost $3,000.


Not enough! said the workers. They were still sick. So the environmental expert said maybe the problem was the carbonless paper. This is the same paper restaurants use for credit card receipts. It's not known for "chemically assaulting" diners or waiters. If it were, restaurants would quickly stop using it, or they'd go out of business.


In this case, however, the carbonless paper was in the county's offices. The offices were run by bureaucrats. They weren't spending their own money, and they couldn't go out of business. Tompkins County bureaucrats agreed to pay someone to photocopy every single piece of paper so these workers never had to touch it.


Not enough! said the workers. You also have to photocopy every single old form stored in the basement and every single form that's touched carbonless paper. The county did.


But even that wasn't enough to appease these "victims." Margaret Marks said, "I got awful sick." Her co-worker, Claudia Cinquanti, said, "I had to bring her to the emergency room."


So the workers demanded the county make the photocopies elsewhere and keep them in storage for at least 24 hours. The county agreed, and moved all of the new carbonless paper forms into a separate storage area.


But even this wasn't sufficient, said the workers. So the county built them their own special room with its own huge ventilation system, bringing in filtered air from the outside. They installed two air purifiers.


Were the workers finally satisfied? No. They sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act, demanding $800 million.


So the county offered to renovate an entire wing of the building, give the new wing to the complaining workers, and move other employees out.


Not enough! the workers told me. "I am going back to work for Tompkins County, whether they like it or not," said one. "I don't care if they have to build a new building. They're going to accommodate me or they are going to pay."


Lonny Dolin, Tompkins County's lawyer, said, "We ripped out all of the carpeting in your rooms. We built you a scientific room. And you won't come back to work because now you say a simple Xerox paper makes you sick. That's not accommodations. They just say, fix the whole building. Make it perfect or blow it up, whatever."


The workers' lawsuits were eventually dismissed, but the legal battle cost the county a fortune.


I say the real victims were the taxpayers.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

STOSSEL'S LATEST
Give Me a Break  

Stossel explains how ambitious bureaucrats, intellectually lazy reporters, and greedy lawyers make your life worse even as they claim to protect your interests. Taking on such sacred cows as the FDA, the War on Drugs, and scaremongering environmental activists -- and backing up his trademark irreverence with careful reasoning and research -- he shows how the problems that government tries and fails to fix can be solved better by the extraordinary power of the free market. Sales help fund JWR.



JWR contributor John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20." To comment, please click here.


Archives

© 2006, by JFS Productions, Inc. Distributed by Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles