Jul 21, 2017

A Vicious Piece From The Washington Post

     Some excerpts from a Washington Post article:
... [H]e saw Tyler’s father, Dale McGlothlin, a former coal miner living on disability, holding a sign along the side of the road. “Need donations to help to feed my family,” it said.
Hess pulled over. He offered him food, then told him he could do him one better: Would he like a job? McGlothlin, whose arms had been damaged in the coal mines and who hadn’t worked in more than a decade, declined the offer, and Hess drove off, outraged.
Living at the center of an opioid crisis, and in the aftermath of a decades-long surge in the nation’s disability rolls, Hess had long perceived a resistance to work. He had seen it when he couldn’t find anyone to hire who could pass a drug test and had a driver’s license. Or when someone complained they couldn’t find work, and he knew fast-food restaurants were hiring. Or when he saw someone claiming a disability despite having what he thought was a mild condition. He would come away thinking he worked 60 hours a week — despite a thyroid condition, despite two bankruptcies, despite the depressed local economy — not because he felt like it but because that was who he was. And now here was another person who didn’t want to work — he wanted a handout, a concept that so angered Hess that his Facebook profile picture was an outstretched palm with a large red strike across it. ...
... Sheila rested a hand on Tyler’s right knee, ashed a cigarette into a soda can and looked out the window. She had wanted something more for him, something other than what she felt most days: shame. She knew how she must look, in her pajamas and mismatched socks, to people who work. She knew what they must say about her disability: It’s only anxiety, only depression. Why couldn’t she work? Why did she buy soda and cigarettes when they needed food? How could she afford the Internet and cable TV bills on a $500 monthly disability check? She would sometimes consider how she would answer. She would say that cigarettes and soda make hard days a little easier. That television is just about her only connection to a world that hasn’t seemed to want her anymore. But it’s simpler to say nothing at all, so she rarely leaves the house now. ... 
Then she was gone, and he was alone, thinking she was wrong — he had tried to find jobs, after all — but also thinking she was right. Why couldn’t he get a job? Was he to blame? Maybe people were right when they told him tattoos would turn off employers. He also could have walked through the snow that day McDonald’s had fired him — it was less than a mile from his house — but he hadn’t done that, either. And when his father told him to hold a sign [to beg], he could have refused, but he hadn’t. ...

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just read this and came away confused because I felt sorry for the lad yet he seemed almost to be the villain while the bully was everyman. Talk about not putting a problem into context, for people who have never been in that area, they are reading about the people and the area with zero grasp of what reality there is. It's hard to believe that in America in 2017, parts of our country are like this is. But it exists and it's got a lot of problems from a proud people whose incomes have disappeared.

Anonymous said...

Funny. The Hess character who is harassing the family fits the profile of the guy who thinks everyone else on disability is a malingering freeloader; but if he gets injured/gets a serious illness or someone in his family does, it's a different story.

Dan Smith said...

@10:41

Not to mention he apparently availed himself of bankruptcy protection. TWICE. I guess "mooching" is ok if you're doing it off your creditors.

Tim said...

If I was offered a job, I would have to turn it down, explaining that there are no jobs I could do competitively. Any job offered would essentially be charity, because I cannot maintain any activity for more than a few minutes at a time. However, Tyler's dad wasn't on SSI or SSDI... Tyler should get a job... What about his fiance? This story seems to be more about the unemployed, drugs and panhandling than about SS disability. Hess seems to be a rich, judgemental man with no compassion for the poor. I am sure the Washington Post would have viewed him differently if Tyler and his girlfriend had a baby and were on welfare.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to consider the mental gaps in the bully's thought process that turn his seemingly charitable impulses into hatred and outrage. He wants to help which is admirable, but then magically thinks he knows the other person's full situation instead of stopping to consider that maybe this person couldn't perform a job even if one were offered. He does not consider that the other person may have greater limitations than he ever did and he does not know what those might be. He imposes his own situation on another person (I could pull myself up by bootstraps, why can't you?) without even knowing all the obstacles the other person faces. At that point, a charitable person would want to get to know the other person and his obstacles, and help him through them. But, for the man in the article it was easier at that point to hate, to think of himself as better, and to have contempt for the other person.

Anonymous said...

Pity they didn't offer any information on the number of jobs there are (aren't, really) in the area versus the number of people who theoretically might be able to work. This has almost nothing to do with disability except for the number of people living on one disabled woman's check.

Also, $500 is below the SSI amount, so there's something else going on there.

Anonymous said...

Who said panhandling isn't work? maybe he can make more from panhandling than work. Also, I wish he would have taken a job with Hess. Then, Hess could learn that many of the people he thinks can work and hold down a full-time job, really can't. Looks can be deceiving.

Anonymous said...

I love the contradictions. One set of elite experts says that technology and outsourcing are good for us and even though there will be no jobs these rural people will just have to adapt or move to where the jobs are at, but of course in the whole scheme of things this is good for us because we will have cheaper goods and we are creating middle classes in Vietnam or Thailand or somewhere. The other line of attack on the part of elitest institutions like WP is combining their smarty pants writers with these local toughs ( who would never take a big guvment handout, eeven though they do) and ridiculing the disabled for faking bad and not wanting to work. My experience on the ground doing state workers comp and SS has been these people get seriously injured in their last industrial jobs, Have comp claims and settlements and then are basically blacklisted by industry after that. They can't get decent jobs if their lives depend on it because they are not wanted due to their limitations and liability risk. the lucky ones who get the piss ant fast food jobs usually can't even make SGA level livings. This is a nasty, mean spirited cruel joke on disabled people in their late forties thru early sixties that have been put out to pasture by the American capitalist system. Now if we can only find a way to get out of paying them disability we can truly leave them out on the street to die. Shame on the richest industrialized country in the history of civilization and the lackey propaganda hacks like the Washington Post. Remember no prosecutions of anyone after the sytematic fraud from the financial crisis. Not one banker! Not one hedge funder!

Anonymous said...

Bravo Dan Smith! Great point!

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. If Hess was upset because the disabled father turned down a job, why didn't Hess offer a job to the son who was able, willing, and desperate to work?

Anonymous said...

I am also quite certain if Mr. Hess injures himself and can't work anymore, he will say "I actually need it, unlike all those fakers."

Anonymous said...

These yellow journalism hatchet jobs are always in "opinion" section of papers and are heavy on conjecture, smear tactics, anecdotes, and totally unfounded conclusions. They cannot stand up under scrutiny based on formal research studies and honest statistical analysis. They can't make it based on the facts period. They are propaganda pieces supported by the John Bircher/Koch brothers used to be extreme right who have never met a successful government program they liked(unless it directly benefitted their bottom line) and who are determined to have us back in the condition we were in over a century ago. ie---we clean their spittoons and kiss their rich arses. They thrive on surplus population and human misery for those outside their class.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure all in the story that voted whether on disability or not, voted for trump. If the son can panhandle out in the sun for hours, he sure could do unskilled work.

Anonymous said...

I once had a hearing at ODAR delayed by 2 hours and had to listen to my client spout off Glenn Beck talking points about how everybody in this country is a freeloader and moocher. The client was so un-self-aware is was astounding.

Anonymous said...

Part of the SSDI problem comes from the inadequate WC systems in most states. Injured workers end up with career ending disabilities, and the WC systems do not properly compensate them. Thus, injured works end up on SSDI, or destitute.

The Feds should make minimum standards for WC benefits.

Anonymous said...

8:55, are you going to help him get his license back and buy him a new car to get to the unskilled job?

Anonymous said...

Mcdonalds is only a mile away.

Anonymous said...

@12:16 that reminds me of my client who spent at least half his testimony during the hearing telling the ALJ how he only watches Fox News and he thinks poorly of anyone who watches a different channel!

Anonymous said...

@7:42 Not everything is a conspiracy or a plot. Sometimes, believe it or not (and you wont) people believe opposite of you. Personally I do not think the government should be involved in disability at all. It is not the governments responsibility to be responsible for every single person. It is the responsibility of the person and that person can involve their family, friends, local community, church, knitting club or whatever. I am not a Republican nor a Democrat, I don't take money from the Koch or from Bernie. I simply believe in personal responsibility. People have the right to fail and it is not the responsibility of the government to take care of them.

It is the responsibility of the government to make sure we have an economy that is strong enough that those who want to and can work have the opportunity to do so. It is the governments job to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity to apply and be considered for employment. That is promoting the "general welfare" to me. Not providing income.

Yes, I understand that not everyone can work. I also understand that some people have lost the support of family. Your view is that "someone" should take care of those people. I agree. I just agree that it should be done locally and without the involvement of the government.

Anonymous said...

It was done "locally" by putting African Americans in chain gangs back in Jim Crow days. Social security is part of the progress society made in the 20th century. Unfortunately, we are now dominated by giant international corporations that do as they please and displace who they please. We can't all live off of the same farm anymore or eat what we kill. Modern civilized societies have decent national disability programs and used to have decent state workers compensation programs. So called "local control" has decimated state workers comp programs. Maybe we also need to turn back the clock to where you get a watch from the boss and a cordial goodbye from, if you were lucky, when you get your arm cut off at the local mill, or get slaughtered by private policeman locally hired when you go on strike. Oh, bring back the good old days!

Anonymous said...

Or maybe locally you get off your computer and involved in the community providing services to the people you are so worried about. Perhaps locally you skip your vaca and put that time and tribute to use in the community. Perhaps you focus your moral outrage on doing something other than making outrageous comments. If the state workers comp is in a mess, fix it, its your state, I know it will cut into your Game of Thrones viewing, but your tough you can take it.

I most sincerely doubt that any of that will occur, because outrage and moral high ground is easy. Doing something is hard, too hard for most and that's why they expect "someone" or "the government" to take care of it.