Originally published May 16 2013
The $124 billion secret welfare program you've never heard about
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) To be sure, there are many Americans who, through no fault of their own, have become disabled through physical or mental illness over which they had no control. That's what Social Security's disability benefit was established to address - to help Americans with legitimate assistance for a legitimate disability.
But in the Age of Obama, a president who has never met a government program not worthy of expanding (think of his ending the work requirement in the 1996 welfare reform law), America is being "fundamentally transformed" into a dependency nation, and the disability program is just the latest tool the president and his Big Government allies are using to fleece taxpayers and buy more voters.
Per National Public Radio:
In the past three decades, the number of Americans who are on disability has skyrocketed. The rise has come even as medical advances have allowed many more people to remain on the job, and new laws have banned workplace discrimination against the disabled. Every month, 14 million people now get a disability check from the government.
According to NPR and other outlets, the total number of Americans now receiving disability benefits has soared to a figure larger than the population of cash-strapped Greece (whose government is also guilty of over-providing benefits, to the detriment of the country's ability to pay them - but I digress).
195 straight months of disability increases"According to newly released data from the Social Security Administration, the record 10,962,532 total disability beneficiaries in April, included a record 8,865,586 disabled workers (up from 8,853,614 in March), 1,936,236 children of disabled workers, and 160,710 spouses of disabled workers," CNSNews.com reports. "According to its latest census, Greece had only 10,815,197 residents."
The figures have been rising - steadily - for years. The Obama Administration has attempted to blame the Great Recession of 2008-09 and, by default, George W. Bush, but the fact is, the steepest increases have come in the years after the recession was formally declared over.
April marked the 195th straight month the number of Americans receiving disability payments increased, and tons more are in the pipeline, to so speak, to begin receiving them.
"The last time the number of Americans collecting disability decreased was in January 1997," reports CNSNews - a month which saw 249 people drop off the disability roles, from 4,385,623 in December 1996 to 4,385,374 the following month.
$124 billionFurthermore, figures show, while the overall number of American workers collecting disability payments has increased, the ratio of full-time workers to disability collectors has decreased. As the overall number of American workers collecting disability has increased, the ratio of full-time workers to disability-collecting workers has decreased, CNSNews noted:
In December 1968, 1,295,428 American workers collected disability and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 65,630,000 worked full-time. Thus, there were about 51 full-time workers for each worker collecting disability. In April 2013, with a record 8,865,586 American workers collecting disability and 116,053,000 working full-time, there were only 13 Americans working full-time for each worker on disability.
Jordan Weissman, writing in the Atlantic Monthly, said "Social Security's disability insurance program, which over 20 years has quietly morphed into one of the largest, yet least talked about, pieces of the social safety net," adding that enrollment in the program had doubled since the 1990s.
"That rapid, under-the-political-radar expansion has turned the program into a massive budget item. As of 2010, its monthly cash payments accounted for nearly one out of every five Social Security dollars spent, or about $124 billion," he writes, citing figures from MIT's economics department.
In sum, adds NPR, "the federal government spends more money each year on cash payments for disabled former workers than it spends on food stamps and welfare combined."
To be sure, the number of disabilities haven't increased and have not become more common, mind you. "The workforce is indeed getting older, and thus more ailment prone. But Americans over 50, who make up most disability cases, report much better health today than in the 1980s," Weissman writes.
Why? Because at the same time getting a job has become harder (again, thank Obama and his job-killing policies), getting disability has gotten easier.
Dependents vote more dependencyThat's not all on Obama, but it is largely on Democrats. Per Weissman:
...[A]fter the Reagan Administration began trying to thin out the program's rolls in the early 80s, an angry Congress reacted by loosening its criteria. Suddenly, subjective measures like self-reported pain or mental health problems earned more weight under Social Security's formula. Today, the most common diagnoses are musculo-skeletal issues, such as severe back pain, and mental illnesses, such as mood disorders - health problems where the line between a disability and a mild impairment is far blurrier.
The lesson here is the same it has been throughout the existence of mankind: If you give a man a fish and feed him for one day at a time, he will become dependent upon you versus teaching him how to fish and allowing him to become independent.
Power-hungry politicians love dependency, because dependents vote for more dependency. See how it works?
Sources for this article include:
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