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Watching this CNBC segment with Jared Bernstein and Kudlow, I can only think how screwed the conservative mind truly is.They've morphed the takers and moochers talking points into attacks on Americans with disabilities. It's very nasty and disgraceful, since it's not just "urban Democrats" who are getting those benefits, but most likely many people who still support Republicans.
I was on disability for a time, and have been hampered for many years by severe nerve damage. Let me tell you, all that time, I only wished one thing: to be able to play music again -- somewhat pain-free. I didn't want to have to collect any benefits, I wanted to work in the profession to which I'd dedicated my life. I haven't been able to tour for almost nine years now. The number of people who are gaming the system is minimal at best, but those people are the ones labeled as representive the entire disabled community.
Pethokoukis: Back about 1935, we had a Democratic president, Franklin Roosevelt, and when talking about the welfare state, the dole, he called it a narcotic, a destroyer of souls. Then the left forgot about that for about 60 years, woke up in the mid 90s for welfare reform and forgot about it again. we've had an explosion of people getting Social Security disability at the same time when the workforce has become less physical, fewer injuries and yet an explosion of people on disability. Why? Because those are people who have been misdiagnosed or who are I'm sorry to say on the dole, who should not be getting disability payments. We are creating exactly the thing Franklin Roosevelt warned us against, which is a narcotic, a destroyer of souls, a destroyer of our labor force.
Bernstein followed up with facts and figures backing up his claims while acknowledging the callous attempts to demonize disabled American workers.
So while these data show some growth in the DI rolls that may reflect folks getting DI who ought not to, much of the increase appears to be explainable by known, legitimate factors. Neither is there much cyclicality to the rolls, suggest that “takers/fakers” are exploiting the program.
In fact, as I emphasized in the segment, more than 90% of entitlement dollars go to people who are either elderly, disabled, or working. In other words, the makers/takers frame is factually wrong, not to mention mean-spirited and divisive.I admit that my ears aren’t exactly non-partisan, but that frame just sounds really nasty to me, as I suspect it does to most people. So I guess if I were Machiavellian, I’d urge Larry and Jimmy to stick with it. But as I’m not, I’d urge them and others to give it up.
I agree completely. It's divisive, uninformed and painful when conservatives attack the disabled in this country with such wanton hatred. And let's face it, disability sucks for many reasons:
The important thing to add to this is that disability benefits, like all benefits in our meager system, are not generous at all. Average monthly benefit is $1,132. This isn't a replacement for full-time employment for most people. I'm sure there are a few people who "abuse" the system by doing some under-the-table work on the side, but if they're earning $1,100 per month you can hardly blame them.
Paul Krugman debunks their angry rant by labeling those unfortunate souls as 'Disabled Deadbeats'
What strikes me, however, isn’t just the way the right is trying to turn a reasonable development into some kind of outrage; it’s the political tone-deafness. I mean, when Reagan ranted about welfare queens driving Cadillacs, he was inventing a fake problem — but his rant resonated with angry white voters, who understood perfectly well who Reagan was targeting. But Americans on disability as moochers? That isn’t, as far as I can tell, an especially nonwhite group — and it’s a group that is surely as likely to elicit sympathy as disdain.
There’s just no way it can serve the kind of political purpose the old welfare-kicking rhetoric used to perform.The same goes, more broadly, for the whole nation of takers thing. First of all, a lot of the “taking” involves Social Security and Medicare. And even the growth in means-tested programs is largely accounted for by the Earned Income Tax Credit — which requires and rewards work — and the expansion of Medicaid/CHIP to cover more children.
Again, not the greatest of political targets.The point, I think, is that right-wing intellectuals and politicians live in a bubble in which denunciations of those bums on disability and those greedy children getting free health care are greeted with shouts of approval — but now have to deal with a country where the same remarks come across as greedy and heartless (because they are).
Do you want to know what the Destroyer of Souls really are? Here it is.
One part austerity:
And one part the politicians who lie about it.
Rachel Reeves writes to the UK Statistics Authority after Cameron claimed in a Conservative Party political broadcast that the coalition "was paying down Britain’s debts".