Sunday, February 9, 2014

Selfish Little Brat


You may think that you're looking here at a little baby. But what you are really seeing is a selfish little brat. 

This little girl is one of the two “distressed babies” cited by AOL chief executive officer Tim Armstrong as the reason why he was paring retirement benefits of the company's employees. "I made the decision, to basically change the 401(k) plan,” Armstrong told the workers, because the company paid out a lot of money for those two "distressed babies." And because the medical payments were  "things that add up into our benefits cost," the two selfish kids were basically stealing from the workers' retirement fund.

Armstrong's action became a media sensation, with reaction on the internet and on cable news shows. The best introduction to the story is here: http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/02/tim_armstrong_blames_distressed_babies_for_aol_benefit_cuts_he_s_talking.single.html. In this article, Deanna Fei owns up to being the mother of the child pictured above and relates the story of the child's premature birth and the way that the hospital staff worked to save the 1 pound, 9 ounce newborn, whose skin was "reddish-purple, bloody and bruised all over"--“gelatinous,” according to one doctor. Among other problems, "she suffered a brain hemorrhage, . . . her right lung collapsed, [and] she stopped breathing altogether one morning." The parents were told that 
she had roughly a one-third chance of dying before we could bring her home. That she might not survive one month or one week or one day. She also had at least a one-third chance of being severely disabled, unable to ever lead an independent life.
The saving of the child's life translated into "a 3-inch thick folder of hospital bills that range from a few dollars and cents to the high six figures (before insurance adjustments)." Those bills are what moved Armstrong (who, incidentally, "took home $12 million in pay in 2012") to stigmatize the child as half the cause for making retirees eat cat food in their old age.

These days, says her mother, "at the age of 1, my daughter is nothing short of a miracle, which is to say, she appears much like any healthy baby." 

During her time in the hospital, though, "she fought for every minute of her young life."

What was selfish about the little brat was a desire to live.


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