Mar 3, 2013

The Attack Begins

     From an Op Ed piece by Robert Ehrlich in the Baltimore Sun:
Those of you paying attention have noticed that the Obama administration is actually doing what it promised: transforming America into a gigantic welfare state. And there are plenty of takers willing to cash in on it and "get mine." Numbers don't lie. Forty percent of the population was on some form of public assistance when the president took office; today, that number stands at 55 percent. And fraud is rampant.
"Exhibit A" is the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI), a classic Washington entitlement that chews up tax dollars while (often) negligently providing for unqualified beneficiaries, an increasing number of whom are wont to remain on the public dole for … well, forever if they don't get caught.
Make no mistake — rapid growth, lax standards and an increased cultural acceptance of long-term nanny state benefits has gotten SSDI into big fiscal trouble.
The 2012 Social Security trustees report shows that SSDI is on schedule to be exhausted as early as 2015, making it one of the first federal entitlement trust funds to go bust. Rapid expansion of the program has coincided with the tenure of the Obama administration.
     There will be a concerted attack on the Social Security disability programs this week. I hope it continues in this over the top partisan manner.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

This attack has been ongoing for a couple of years. Nothing new here.

Anonymous said...

Why is any examination or review related to disability initial claims, appeals, or continuing disability investigations automatically considered an "attack" on disability programs by certain special interest groups? There are many factors to consider, not limited to demographics but also the impact of improvements in medical and mental health procedures and care, physical therapy, medications, etc. These can be objectively evaluated as to their impact on disability programs and a reasonable person would think that these types of improvements would also lead to a decline in disability or some positive impact. Also consider the many rehabilitation, work incentive, and reasonable accomodation efforts that exist to help the less abled remain self sufficient and not receive or receive disability payments for shorter periods. To what extent do all of these efforts and improvements on what existed in the past contribute to the numbers of those filing for and receiving disablity? Who would deny that abuse, fraud and misuse exist in the disability program and should be eliminated? A question exists on how economic factors contribute to the growth of the numbers of those filing for and receiving disability. Just because you are unemployed because of a poor economy or your lack of job skills or your refusal to take a lower paying or less desireable job or your desire to care of your family or any other personal reason does not justify disability payments. However, all things considered, have disability programs become another economic pressure relief valve designed to give money to some of those who would not qualify for any other welfare or social needs programs? Have we modified the definition of disabilty for some to mean what you receive from the government when time runs out for your unemployment check or when your children are no longer eligible for welfare? Or, can we not ask such questions or be subject to a personal attack?

blacksheep777 said...

Just a stray thought: Could Food Stamps, rental subsidies, Medicaid, earned income credits, etc; be construed or considered as a subsidy for low wage EMPLOYERS that fail to pay a living wage?

Anonymous said...

Short answer to blacksheep777: No.

Long answer: You really do not want to understand any long answer.

Victor Bobier said...

To blacksheep777: To some yes, but then Repubs have had it in for anything Social Security since 1937 or 1939(I'm not sure of the exact date), so it's not surprising Repubs would go after programs that the working poor get instead of making a living wage law which would fix the problem, like raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour and indexing it to inflation, but Repubs say one thing about who it would hurt while the CBO says Repubs are full of crap... But then Repubs are the Party of the Rich CEOs, like the KOCH Brothers(David and Crane), Big Tobacco, Big AG, Big Oil, etc, etc...

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It's not just SSDI, although I see that particular example daily. The real problem is ANY program that gives people things with no consequence. This country has been changing for years and the re-election of Obama just solidified what most already thought, "times have changed, for the worse!"

The majority of people in this country, regardless of demographics are "takers". They want whatever they can get for free. Before I got a financially stable job, I worked multiple jobs to makes ends meet. I had a small child at home and my spouse wanted to stay home. We could have applied and qualified for all kinds of programs because I made $9.00 per hour at the time - I refused. I got extra jobs, worked way more than 40 hours per week and made it work. It was miserable for a while, but I had a family to care for and it wasn't the government's job.

Now before all the bleeding hearts try to crucify me, I understand situations are vastly different for everyone. I also agree there should be safety nets in place for extreme situations. Anyone can have serious misfortune occur in their like at any time and may need assistance.

Having said that, producing more children than you can care for should not be tolerated. Not working because you don't like being told what to do is not a disability. Going to prison is not a disability - it's punishment. $7.50 per hour not enough, get two jobs -$15.00 an hour is better. Ideally everyone is equal, but we are not. We are not all entitled to have the same things. The "Obama phone" is a perfect example. The lifeline program is a good program. People need a phone. However, it should be a subsidized LANDLINE - not a cell phone. Cell phones are privelages, not necessities. If they are necessary to survival, then why doesn't the government pay for mine? A landline would suffice just fine. Chances are, if you're out, someone else will have a phone in an emergency. I'd like to see the numbers that show how many minutes on those phones are used for emergency calls. If its a lot, I'd be surprised.

This nation has changed, and I don't know if its reversible. I just wish someone could explain how we can sustain our current path.

Victor Bobier said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Why would anyone want a mortgage on such a tight income? Owning a home can be quite expensive regardless of the interest rate or mortgage amount.

Why would anyone on disability but a house? Maybe a better question is why would anyone lend to them? Owning a home is not for everyone. I'm pretty sure we saw the result of that a few years ago.

My friend works for a bank. They regularly extend overdraft protection to SSI recipients on their direct deposit accounts. He says it's the banks policy to let them have the option. Inevitably they overdraw. Then get when their next check goes in, it pays the overdraft off and then they overdraw again. Anyone else see this as utterly ridiculous? Guess what though, remove their "right" to have the option and now you're oppressing poor people.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that people are incorrectly focusing on T2 dib as a wasteful program, when it is SSI that is the wasteful program. But mention SSI, and people think you are talking about T2 dib, and they panic. SSI now costs over $51 billion dollars annually just in payments, not counting administrative costs. The cost for SSI children under age 18 is nearly $ 10 bil, which is a complete waste of taxpayers' money. SSI is where reform efforts need to be targeted. Otherwise, is is all just hot air.

Anonymous said...

In total agreement with the above assessment about SSI. The joke is on the taxpayer!

Anonymous said...

The Baltimore Sun is a dying newspaper, and this guy's rant is not worthy of being published anywhere else. Well, maybe on Craigslist.

Anonymous said...

Whether that newspaper is dying is irrelevant to the point of the article.

Victor Bobier said...
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Anonymous said...

The honest approach to what Ehrlic is ranting about would be to allocate more resources for improving fraud prevention and continuing disability reviews. If that's all that the right wanted to change about Social Security (reduce fraud and waste) there would be little conflict. There's conflict because some of the leadership on the right push for changes that would have the effect of eliminating benefits for plenty of people who genuinely can't work, and/or reducing the benefits, which are pretty low already. It's not working because plenty of Americans think that it's a good thing that their government helps these vulnerable fellow citizens.

Victor Bobier said...

I don't like Fraud either, just enlarging the Liquid Asset Limit of $2,000($3,000 for a couple) to $10,000 would curb this and not cost the tax payers one red cent as the saying goes. But so far Repubs in the House have tabled 2 attempts at reform in committee.

Anonymous said...

Victor, I am sorry, but if you are living on SSI, you obviously didn't pay into DIB before you were disabled so if you were working you were playing some sort of game with your earnings, Further, if you are living on SSI, a 125 gallon aquarium and a Maine Coon Cat are luxuries that perhaps you can't afford. Sorry, but reality is reality.

Anonymous said...

Actually, your current months check does not count towards the resource limit. If your local office is telling you that, they're wrong. If you retain your currents months check in the following month, now it becomes a resource. The $2,000.00 limit does apply to to combined resources so if you have other things, you could still be limited on cash accrual.

Your response also seems to further prove the previous post, "why own a home?" While it may be ideal, it sounds like your budget may be stressed to the max either way. At least if an apartment needs repairs, the landlord should pay for them. If you own your home the bill is yours.

Anonymous said...

Agreed

Anonymous said...

When someone pays FICA taxes during their working years into a Social Security insurance program, I don't see how they can be classified as a "taker" when they can no longer work due to disability. If the disabled are takers, then so are the retirees who earned their benefits and can no longer work. The insurance program that is the subject of this article is an earned right, not a welfare program.

Anonymous said...

No one said anything about Title II beneficaries being takers, one of the responders noted his asset resources were limited which implies he is receiving Title XVI, which is the Federal Welfare program.

Mike B. said...

We are virtually all "takers." We live in a society that provides us with much more than we could obtain on our own. We also all tremendously benefit from the work of past generations, who laid the foundations that allowed our present society. That's the biggest source of our current wealth. There's no reason for this inherited wealth to be concentrated in a tiny fraction of the population.

The biggest "takers" are those who have the most, some of whom seem to think that they did it all on their own.

Victor Bobier said...
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Anonymous said...
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Victor Bobier said...
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Social Security News said...

Enough of this personal back and forth. That's not what the comment feature is about on this blog. I'm closing this thread.