Sep 18, 2012

The Anti-Disability PR Gains Traction

     David Brooks a a columnist for the New York Times. He projects an image as a moderate conservative. He wrote an op ed piece today sharply criticizing Mitt Romney's comments about people who depend upon government assistance, saying that the Republican candidate "has lost any sense of the social compact." Towards the end of his piece, Brooks says that:
Sure, there are some government programs that cultivate patterns of dependency in some people. I’d put federal disability payments and unemployment insurance in this category. But, as a description of America today, Romney’s comment is a country-club fantasy. It’s what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney. 
     You note that even someone who wants to project an image as a moderate conservative feels it is safe to say that disability benefits "cultivate patterns of dependency in some people." This is a sign of the depth of penetration of the anti-disability benefits public relations effort. I have no doubt that this is penetrating into Democrat ranks as well. This poses dangers to those applying for or receiving Social Security disability benefits.

1 comment:

JOA said...

When Mr. Hall speaks of whether David Brooks “feels it safe” to say something about dependency, is Mr. Hall talking about how soundly supported Brooks thinks his statement might be, how much evidence there is for it? Or is Mr. Hall telling us that Brooks was calculating the reactions of his audience?

I’m inclined to believe that without more help from Mr. Hall, then like most other acts of attempted mindreading, trying to figure out just what he was thinking for his statement about Brooks’ sense of safety is an enterprise fraught with the possibility of error.

Mr. Hall could, of course, explain more about just what he meant. As for David Brooks, I think Brooks has already done this. His column of 1/30/12 titled “The Great Divorce” goes a long way in that direction. This is a column praising Charles Murray’s book, “Coming Apart.” Part of Brooks’ summary of Murray’s purported findings about a polarized society is that at lower socioeconomic levels, “men in their prime working ages have been steadily dropping out of the labor force, in good times and bad.”

It’s not hard to see a number of parallels between Brooks’ 1/30/12 column and his recent book, “The Social Animal,” especially the chapter titled “Social Mobility,” which in part describes a more difficult life trajectory for lower groups. So deploying that favorite SSA word for disability evaluation, on a “longitudinal” evaluation of Brooks’ writings, his column yesterday doesn’t reflect any sort of Johnny-come-lately contribution to what Mr. Hall describes as ‘the anti-disability benefits public relations effort.” Mr. Hall’s comments above are in my view under suspicion for being parochial to what seems to be Mr. Hall’s narrow focus.

(Is this last sentence an attempt at mindreading”? Hmmm.)