(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)

Prelude:  Yet again, the tax system explained in beer story is used to ludicrously and simplistically explain the tax system, and no less by the USA White House.  We have been wanting to do a blog post on flat and progressive tax systems comparisons, so here it is. 

The story about “The tax system explained in beer” (democratic) has been flitting around the internet since 2001.  Apparently no author can be identified for the article. The analogy makes the argument that since wealthy people pay the most in taxes, they will also receive the most benefit from a tax cut. It also suggests that wealthy people will leave the US if they are made to pay more in taxes.

It appears that how the reader interprets the article is based on ‘right’ or ‘left’ political thinking, flat versus progressive taxation systems and social democracy or not.

On October 30, 2017 Sarah Huckabee Sanders, USA White House Press Secretary began her daily press briefing pitching USA Trump tax cuts by reciting the article.  Then she said,  “And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how our tax system works,” Sanders continued. “The people who are being paid the highest taxes will naturally benefit from a tax reduction but not the largest benefit. Taxing them too much and they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier. This is a silly story but it illustrates a very important point. Our tax cuts and reforms will create a fair system that works better for everyone. It will make our country the friendliest in the world for American families trying to build a better life for their children. And for American companies seeking a competitive edge. I will be happy to get that story to everybody so you can get those numbers later. Again, I know that may be an oversimplification but it paints a very good picture of the tax system.”

From the analogy the information is condensed as follows, ‘the premise is every day ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.  If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it goes something like this…’ (first four people are the poorest).  Based on their incomes, the ten men would pay:

  • The first four men (poorest) would pay   $  0
  • The fifth would pay                                  $  1
  • The sixth would pay                                $  3
  • The seventh would pay                           $  7
  • The eighth would pay                              $12
  • The ninth would pay                                $18
  • The tenth man (richest) would pay          $59  (for a total of $100)

Everyone is happy with this arrangement, until the owner throws them a curveball. Because they are such good customers, he reduces the bill to $80.  It is decided it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, so each man would now be paying:

(Blog author comment:  Truly funny, the totals add up to $79, not $80, so it appears the bar tender will be short changed by $1.)

  • First four persons        $  0
  • Fifth person                 $  0 (100% saving on prior payment)
  • Sixth person                $  2 ( 33% saving)
  • Seventh person           $  5 (28% saving)
  • Eighth person              $  9 (25% saving)
  • Ninth person                $14 (22% saving)
  • Tenth person                $49 (16% saving) for a total of $79

However, the men begin to compare their savings with those who get the least in percentage of savings complaining the most.

The wealthy get all the breaks. Wait a minute, yelled the first four men, we didn’t get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor. The nine men yelled at the tenth and made him feel bad so the next time the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks and the nine sat down and had their beers without him. When it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They no longer had enough money between them all to even cover half of the bill.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.’  (End of analogy).

Reader comment:  ‘Yes, the perilous story of the wealthy person who will leave it all behind if the taxes go a percentage point too high…all his businesses, his customers and his suppliers, all his family, his home, his social networks, his local culture, his kids schools, why he’ll just pick up all of that and magically whisk it away to some other place with a lower tax burden for free.  The only thing the story is missing to start with is “Once upon a time…” like all fairy tales’.



Taken from the following article:   “SA Tax System Explained Through Beer” (based on South African Rand) tax-system-explained-through-beer

‘Economies are not one-liners. We’re talking about systems here – and you can’t talk about taxation and spending without talking about “where did the money come from”.

So let me attempt to re-tell that parable.

Ten Men Walk Into A Bar…And One Of Them Owns The Brewery.  Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to R100.  If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

  • The first four men (poorest) would         R  0
  • The fifth would pay                                 R  1
  • The sixth would pay                                R  3
  • The seventh would pay                           R  7
  • The eighth would pay                              R12
  • The ninth would pay                                R18
  • The tenth man (richest) would pay          R59 (for a total of R100)

So, that’s what they decided to do.

There are many reasons why the richest man agreed to pay the bulk of the bill, but the important one is that he owned the only brewery in town, and the barman would buy all the beer from him.

The seventh, eighth and ninth men all worked in the brewery, and earned salaries according to their skill level. The sixth and fifth men owned farms which supplied the hops – although they didn’t earn particularly well, because the brewery was the sole buyer and it negotiated quite stiff rates.

The remaining four men were farm labourers who earned enough to eat, but not enough to drink.

The way that the brewery man saw it: the drinks must flow in order for the barman to be in business and sell the beer that the brewery produced.

The ten men were also very protective of their beer industry, and would run any newcomers out of town. This meant that the ten men were the only real regulars at the bar, and the only real source of its income.

So to keep the bar in business and the town happy and the drinks flowing, the richer men would pick up most of the tab. And happily, most of the bill would end up back in the brewery man’s hands anyway.

So the ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the barman threw them a curveball. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by R20”. Drinks for the ten men would now cost just R80.

What he didn’t say is that there had been a bumper season of barley, so the brewery had produced its beer fairly cheaply that month – and the brewery owner had offered the barman a substantial discount on the beer in order to get rid of it.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men? How could they divide the R20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

They realized that R20 divided by six is R3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

And so

  • The fifth man, like first four, now paid           R  0 (100% saving)
  • The sixth instead of R3 now paid                 R  2 (33% saving)
  • The seventh instead of R7 now paid            R  5 (28% saving)
  • The eighth instead of R12 now paid             R  9 (25% saving)
  • The ninth instead of R18 now paid               R14 (22% saving)
  • The tenth instead of R59 now paid               R49 (16% saving) for total of R79

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free.  But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar out of the R20 saving,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,”but he got R10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a rand too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!”

“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get R10 back, when I got only R2? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!”

In their rage, the nine men decided to boycott the bar.

The next night only the tenth man showed up for drinks so he sat down and had the beer on his own. But when it came time to pay the bill, he discovered something important. 90% of the beer had gone unsold, and the barman was threatening to return the stock to him in the morning.

And if the situation remained unchanged, then the barman was planning to shut up shop, and the brewery would have to close, and then everyone would be without jobs.

And that is how our economy works. The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction, but the wealthy also have a vested interest in keeping consumers at the table.

That consumption drives the economy and gives value to the businesses that they own. And the hard truth is: if anyone decides to leave the table, then it’s likely that everyone will lose. And it’s really hard to keep everyone happy.

It’s complicated.’ (End)


For this blog author, the initial article is based on true stupidity and over simplification of the tax system.  In this blog article, an example is used to explain the Canadian and provincial tax system based on a progressive tax system versus a flat tax system. These calculations are examples only.  Also, final taxes will vary based on personal deductions, other deductions, tax credits and loopholes not included here.

The following information outlines the 2017 progressive tax system for Canadian and Alberta families of two or more using 2011 Stats Canada information on incomes for Quintile 1 to 5.  For the tax calculation, the highest income for Quintile 1 to 4 rounded off was used plus an arbitrarily assigned income of $350,000 for Quintile 5.

CANADIAN DISTRIBUTION OF INCOME (from MoneySense 2015 All Canadian Wealth test (



  • Quintile 1 up to $38,754
  • Quintile 2 $38,755 to $61,928
  • Quintile 3 $61,929 to $88,074
  • Quintile 4 $88,075 to $125,000
  • Quintile 5 $125,001 and over

Upper income point of quintiles

  • Quintile 1 $  39,000
  • Quintile 2 $  62,000
  • Quintile 3 $  88,000
  • Quintile 4 $125,000
  • Quintile 5 $350,000 (arbitrarily assigned value)





First, it must be stated that all persons identified in the quintiles will not pay the full tax shown in the table since personal deductions, other deductions and tax credits have not been applied.  Also, the ability to use tax loopholes and credits, (more likely to benefit wealthy the most) have not been applied.  Examples are TFSAs (no tax savings on principal amounts, but savings are realized on tax free investments and interest earned on principal) and RRSPs (reduced taxes on employment income for yearly RRSP amounts, but will pay taxes on withdrawals from RRSP, for example, in retirement when income is likely to be less than when employed).  Combined principal amounts for TFSAs for couples now totals almost $100,000 (tfsa-boondoggle-for-singles-and-low-income-canadians).  It is almost 100% certain that couple earning $39,000 will not be able to contribute to TFSAs and RRSPs.

Also, calculations are based on the combined total income for one or two earners in family of two or more.  Taxation will vary based on income earned by each spouse and tax rules for family income.

It is interesting to note percentage of after tax income without application of any other deductions for Quintile 1 to 4 families of two or more persons averages between 70% and 75%, while percentage of after tax income for the richest Quintile 5 $350,000 arbitrarily assigned income for family of two or more is about 60%. The 60% after tax income, however, will increase substantially with the deductions, and tax avoidance, loopholes and credits that wealthy are able to use.

After tax income with no deductions for family of two or more earning $350,000 will be at least $211,078 or $17,590 per month (as compared to only approximately $2,400 per month for Quintile 1 family of two or more persons).  Families earning $39,000 with equal incomes between the spouses at 2,000 annual worked hours each works out to about $10/hr.

If 2015 old flat tax rate of 10% for Alberta is applied to Quintile 5 person earning $350,000 the total tax would only be $35,000 instead of $43,383.  What a difference a progressive tax makes!  The average person does not understand that the first dollar earned is taxed lower than the last dollar earned in the progressive tax system.  The person earning $350,000 pays the exact same tax on the first $125,000 of pay as the person making only $125,000.  That is what makes progressive taxes fair.

From MoneySense article the top income for unattached individuals for Quintile 1 is $18,717 (as compared to $38,754 for family two or more persons), Quintile 2 $23,356 ($61,928 for family two or more persons), Quintile 3 $36,859 ($88,074 for family two or more persons), Quintile 4 $55,498 ($125,000 for family two or more persons), and Quintile 5 $55,499 and over (over $125,000 for family two or more persons).  Analysis shows incomes of families of two or more are at least double or more to that of unattached individuals.  It is almost 100% certain that unattached individuals in Quintiles 1, 2 and 3 will not be able to save by contributing to TFSAs and RRSPs (unless RRSP is a forced contribution through employer).

Income does not include assets that the upper class and wealthy might have such as paid for $600,000 and up housing, investments, etc.


Michael Lewis, author of “The Undoing Project” book, describes how a Nobel Prize-winning theory of the mind altered our perception of reality.   Two Israeli psychologists, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s work created the field of behavioral economics which revolutionized thinking of how the human mind works when forced to make judgements in uncertain situations.  An example is outcomes of surgery where there might be a 5% chance of death versus 95% chance of surviving the surgery.  When patients are presented with 95% chance of survival rate rather than 5% death rate, they are more likely to go through with the surgery.  The same judgement should apply to tax system based on beer analogy.

For upper class and wealthy, please don’t ‘cry me a river’.  Wealthy need to look at what they have left after taxation instead of what is being taken from them in taxation.  Only when all the tax loopholes, offshore tax havens, and privileging through tax credits like Tax Free Savings Accounts TFSAs that benefit wealthy the most are eliminated so that there is a level playing field and fairness between poor and wealthy, only then can the wealthy ever complain that they are being taxed unfairly.

The wealth gap between the rich and poor needs to be lessened by increasing the minimum wage to an indexed living wage and eliminating the tax deductions, loopholes and tax credits that benefit the wealthy the most (selective-democratic-socialism).

Regarding the ‘The Tax System Explained in Beer’ analogy, we will take the South African Rand analogy as being the more accurate of the two analogies, thank you very much!

Postscript: For those who wish to read more on the debunking of tax system explained in beer analogy, the following online article and reader comments is a great one – (Reality) Check, Please:  Why the Restaurant Analogy Doesn’t Work (Restaurant-Analogy-Doesnt-Work).

UPDATE OCTOBER 31, 2018 – We are very grateful to a reader who pointed out that an error was made in the calculation of information in the table.  The table has been updated.  The update decreases the tax that is paid in the $350,000 Alberta income category.

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)



(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)

Today is Remembrance Day.  Lest we forget, the story of Cecil Kinross in “The Whole story is a Tragedy” describes the bravery of a Canadian soldier. An excerpt taken from the story follows: (gave-him-a-medal-and-named-a-mountain-after-him-but-this-passchendaele-veterans-story-is-a-tragedy)

‘He volunteered to step forward when a Canadian Battalion was being shredded by German artillery and machine-gun fire.  With just a rifle and bayonet and a bandolier of extra ammunition strung across his chest, he launched a one-man, broad daylight charge across open ground against a German machine-gun nest.  He would kill six Germans, destroy the gun and continue fighting while being seriously wounded in the head and left arm.  He was awarded the Victoria Cross.  Even today, he is remembered for it.  Mt. Kinross  (Jasper, Alberta) is named after him as is Edmonton’s Kinross road.  After returning home he suffered from terrible headaches, likely had PTSD and struggled with alcohol.  He never married.’

Flash forward to 2017.  If Kinross had died from service-related death as outlined below in Death Benefit 2016, and if he was married his spouse and /or children would have received benefit.  As a deceased single soldier, parents would have received nothing and parents would likely have struggled through poverty stricken lives.  Families of deceased single soldiers are deemed to be worth less than spouse and/or children of deceased single soldiers.

We decided to reprint the blog post entered last November 12, 2016.  The additional media links at the end of the November 12, 2016 post have not been reproduced here. These can be reviewed by referring back to November 12, 2016 post. (deceased-canadian-single-soldiers)


As stated in next paragraph it appears nothing has changed for payment of death benefit for single marital status deceased soldiers.

Death Benefit – As of January 1, 2016 (ombudsman-veterans)

The Death Benefit is a lump sum in the amount of $310,378.59 (January 1, 2016 rate) payable to the surviving spouse, common-law partner and/or dependent children in the case of service-related death that occurs within 30 days of a CAF member’s injury or illness. The benefit recognizes the impact the death of a service member has on the functioning of their immediate family, including the permanent loss of guidance, care and companionship.

Budget 2016 announced that the Death Benefit will be increased to $360,000 in 2017. The calculation of the payment will be done in the same manner as the Disability Award, described previously.



This post is about the financial discrimination faced by deceased singles.   Two cases outlined include Canadian single soldiers and deceased single 9/11 victims. The sources of news articles on which the deceased Canadian single soldiers information has been based are included at the end of this post.


Several complaints on what was felt to be financial discrimination against deceased Canadian single soldiers were brought before Canadian federal human-right tribunals. It appears that these complaints have resulted in gross human rights violations based on marital status.  Some of the names of the deceased involved are Cpl. Matthew Dinning, Pte. Braun Scott Woodfield, Pte. William Cushley, Trooper Jack Bouthillier, Trooper March Diab.

The death benefit in question was the $250,000 lump-sum death benefit to be given only to the families of married or common-law soldiers.  Revisions to the Veterans Charter were approved in 2005 so that when a married or common-law Canadian soldier is killed in action, the surviving spouse and children are eligible for a one-time, $250,000 lump-sum to help them with the costs of transitioning to civilian life. The cash is on top of whatever life insurance the deceased has (Supplementary Death Benefit-covers all Canadian Forces members at two years salary which goes to the person whom they designate-and Military Life Insurance which they can purchase through SISIP).

Under the old system, the federal government paid a supplementary death benefit, calculated at two times the member’s annual earnings.  The cash went to the spouse, or another designated beneficiary of the soldier. If there was no beneficiary, the money would go into the estate.

As of 2011 less than about half of the deceased soldiers in Afghanistan have been single.

The issues behind the complaints are outlined here.


The parents of Pte. William Cushley issued a complaint on why they did not receive same compensation as married or common-law deceased soldiers.  The final result of a federal human-rights tribunal rejected the complaint of Lincoln and Laurie Dinning for Cpl. Matthew Dinning because Veterans Affairs abruptly decided to recognize their son’s girlfriend of a couple of months as his common-law spouse, technically making him no longer single even though she had not lived with him for a year. (link to definitions of marital status).  “An eleventh hour offer by the Department to recognize Dinning’s girlfriend as a common-law spouse was no doubt done to try to quash the hopes of other families challenging the government on the discrimination related to this death benefit.” Definitions clearly state couples have to co-habitat for a year before declaring common-law status.

Veterans Affairs clearly violated the law by changing the marital status of the deceased single soldier from single to common-law spouse.


As stated by one of the parents:  “You have four men killed in the same battle, three of them are paid $250,000, (but) William does not qualify because he is single. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”


Relatives of Pte. Braun Scott Woodfield, who died in a military vehicle accident in November, would be sharing a $250,000 tax-free payment specially authorized by cabinet to compensate for his death while on duty…..But records released under the Access to Information Act indicate Woodfield’s family was excluded from the cabinet order, which gave a total of $1 million to four other families grieving over military deaths. That’s because Canada’s new Veterans Charter, which for the first time provides a non-taxable $250,000 death benefit, was passed by Parliament on May 13, (2005)  last year but didn’t come into effect until April 1 (2006) this year. Deaths that occurred in the interim were not covered by the charter….  His death benefits were then denied because he was single.


“But Woodfield’s family will not get a red cent because under the Veterans Charter, only “survivors” can receive the $250,000 death benefit. And because survivors are defined only as dependent children, spouses or common-law partners, Woodfield – as a single man with no children – had no “survivors” to receive any cash.

Instead, the cabinet order provided the money to the surviving spouses, common-law partners and children of three men killed in Afghanistan, as well as to the two daughters of Warrant Officer Charles Sheppard, who died in a parachuting accident at Trenton, Ont., on Oct. 3, 2005.”

“Pte. Woodfield is not eligible because he does not have a survivor or any dependent children,” Veterans Affairs spokeswoman Pamela Price confirmed in an interview. Woodfield’s mother said the Veterans Charter policy should be changed to help the next-of-kin of unattached soldIers.

“In a sense, you felt that my son was less of a person, as a single person,”…..

The death benefit under the Veterans Charter is unusual because of its restriction to so-called “survivors,” since single soldiers with no children have long been unconditionally eligible for almost all other death benefits provided by the military.

For example, the Canadian Forces pays for the funerals and burials of all serving members killed on duty, as it did for Woodfield.

National Defence spokesman John Knoll said the Forces also pay supplementary death benefits – two years of salary, tax-free – to the estate of the member or to his or her designated beneficiary. The military will also provide severance pay to the estate or designated beneficiary, seven days’ pay for each year of service.

And any pension entitlements that had been accrued by deceased members go to a designated beneficiary or the estate if there is no spouse, common-law partner or children, he said.”


Veterans Affairs has argued that the death benefit is not life insurance and the payout is specifically targeted at families to help them transition to civilian life. Lawyers for the department, in written submissions, have said the federal government isn’t obliged to pay compensation in every circumstance.

Other comments from news articles:

“Lincoln Dinning, Matthew’s father, said he would never have filed the human rights complaint, which alleged the government discriminated against single soldiers, had there been a spouse in the picture at the outset”.

“Single soldiers can choose to take out life insurance and make payable, for example, to his or her parents or estate. That kind of insurance can only be obtained through the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) Long Term Disability, a government-directed insurance program for the Canadian Forces.  But the Royal Canadian Legion, representing 340,000 members across the country, said the one-time death benefit is clearly meant to cover pain and suffering, noneconomic loss, which is covered other benefit packages”.

“Errol Mendes of the University of Ottawa says it’s clearly established in law that discrimination based on marital status violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and he wonders why Veterans Affairs still supports the practice.  “There is a compelling case on the part of single soldiers,” Prof. Mendes said yesterday. “Whether or not there is a legal case, there is a huge moral, social, ethical and political reason why the government should be covering this.”

Reader comment-”The stated purpose is to help transition the soldier’s immediate family from a military life to a civilian life, due to the loss of income, housing, support network etc. It is not meant to recognize their sacrifice through a financial payout. That being said, if a single soldier has elderly/infirm parents or siblings that he/she is legally responsible for, the money should be paid out in those instances. And hopefully the member made arrangements beforehand in case this happens (setting up trusts etc.).”

Reader comment-Another aspect that cannot be ignored are these scenarios:  “If a single soldier is gravely injured, and an application is subsequently made on their behalf for the Disability Benefit, and they then die more than 30 days later, then the Disability Benefit would be issued to the estate at a rate of 100% disability.  If a single soldier is killed instantly, then no Death Benefit is issued, period.  A 100% Disability Benefit is exactly the same amount as the Death Benefit, but only one of these scenarios generates a benefit – dependent upon when the veteran dies.  Doesn’t sound quite so equal.  I can see why there are arguments that the Death Benefit should be paid to the Estate, not to the survivor.”

Other documents, dated after the charter’s implementation, showed veterans groups were concerned about the exclusion of single soldiers from the payment, but Veterans Affairs placated them by saying it was prepared to “explore any gaps or omissions” and to “make changes to the (New Veterans Charter) to the extent possible.”

Comments from Veteran Affairs Canada -“Although other family members, such as parents, also suffer from the loss due to the sudden death of the Canadian Forces member, they do not face the same financial impacts as the spouse/common-law partner and/or dependent children of the Canadian Forces member,” Janice Summerby, a spokeswoman for Veterans Affairs Canada, said in an email statement to the Star.

Summerby added that single soldiers can choose to take out life insurance and make payable, for example, to his or her parents or estate. That kind of insurance can only be obtained through the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) Long Term Disability, a government-directed insurance program for the Canadian Forces.  But the Royal Canadian Legion, representing 340,000 members across the country, said the one-time death benefit is clearly meant to cover pain and suffering, not economic loss, which is covered other benefit packages.

“It is one of the deficiencies that we identified in the new Veterans’ Charter . . . that it is a discriminatory practice that married members receive a death benefit but single members don’t receive a death benefit. The Legion believes that all Canadian forces members killed (in the line of duty) … be granted a death benefit,” Andrea Siew, of the Royal Canadian Legion in Ottawa, told the Star.

Siew said the death benefit is not about financial compensation for the loss of income, “it is an award payment for the non-economic loss associated with pain and suffering. It is very clear in the legislation it’s about that.”


From “What Is the Life of a Single Person Worth?” from ‘Singled Out, How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After’ by Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., St. Martin’s Griffin, New York, 2006,  page 228 (SingledOutHIGHLIGHTS)

“After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. government created a  fund to compensate the families of the victims.  Compensation was calculated separately for each victim, based in part on projected lifetime earnings and other sources of money. In addition, each family was was paid a standard $250,000 for pain and suffering.  The final component was an extra $50,000 for spouses and for each child.  According to these calculations, the lives of single victims are automatically worth less than those of married victims.  The $50,000 that would go to a married victim’s spouse would not go to any living person who cared about the victim who was single.

The Victim Compensation Fund declared in cold, hard numbers that in contemporary American society, the life of a single person is worth less than the life of someone who is married.  That’s only one of the reasons I find it interesting.  The fund also makes another set of values unusually clear.  A relationship with a spouse is considered worthier than any other adult relationship, including even ties to parents or siblings.  Said the mother of one of the 9/11 victims, “When they did this formula, why didn’t they consider the parents?  My daughter-in-law was married for five years.  We had Jonathan for 35 years”

The person in charge of the excruciating task of assigning a dollar value to victims’ lives, attorney Kenneth Feinberg, had second thoughts about the matter after the job was completed.  In the book he wrote about his experiences, he concludes that if Congress ever decides to create such a fund again, all victims should be valued equally”.


From examination of these two cases, it is apparent that even in this era of enlightenment where discrimination is supposed to be recognized and eliminated, financial discrimination of singles is as rampant as it ever was decades ago.

Observations include the following:

  • Financial discrimination of singles continues even when they are deceased.  The financial lives of deceased singles are viewed to be worth less than married or common-law deceased persons.
  • Blatant manipulation of marital status done by Veteran Affairs just to avoid legal ramifications is a violation of the law and human rights of singles.
  • There is a clear legal process to follow in the distribution of financial assets of singles and married or common-law families.  For singles, distribution is determined by wills and estates; for married or common-law families, distribution is determined by spousal and child dependents first, then parents and siblings in accordance with wills, estate and pre-nuptial agreements, so why would Veterans Affairs try to usurp this legal process?
  • In the 9/11 victims article, the following statement is in the eye of the beholder and can be viewed from different angles:  Said the mother of one of the 9/11 victims, “When they did this formula, why didn’t they consider the parents?  My daughter-in-law was married for five years.  We had Jonathan for 35 years.”  First, when children marry, the proper thing for parents to do is to give up their parental rights and allow their children to become their own family units with their own rights, so why should parents feel they are entitled to victim’s benefits over the spouse and children dependents of the victim? Second, as stated above there is a clear legal process for determining who will receive benefits.  Spouses and children take first priority followed by parents and siblings further down if spouse and children are all deceased as determined by law.
  • Kenneth Feinberg, had second thoughts about the matter after the 9/11 job was completed and concluded that if Congress ever decides to create such a fund again, all victims should be valued equally.  (Just a little too late, don’t you think)!
  • It should be very clear how important wills are to prevent possible infighting that can occur over death benefits.
  • All deceased persons deserve the same death benefits regardless of marital status.

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)