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SPINNING THE DISABILITY DEBATE

By Scott B. Elkind, Esq.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article by a conservative think tank guru named Andrew G. Biggs. He instantly criticized the 2016 budget proposal as “the opposite of reform.”

Let’s step back a second and review this unique inane statement. Budget proposals are what they are. These are proposed spending limits placed on the activities of the federal government. Budget proposals do not contain legislation or amended rules for the activities of the separate governmental administrations. Therefore, Mr. Bigg’s entire proposition for his article is ludicrous from the outset.

It is deceptive statements such as this which make discussion of any kind difficult. Rather than engaging in a meaningful discussion, each side will play the “blame game” instead of creating a proposal and brokering constructive legislation. Sending out purported “expert” spokespersons on your behalf to stir the pot does not address problems. It just causes more friction in the system.

Mr. Biggs goes on to minimize the effects of aging and entry of women into the workforce. These factors alone justify the increasing number of person entering the disability roll. He does not make any mention to the economic downturn or the corporate practice of selectively laying offer workers of older age in order to reduce salaries of these higher compensated employees. Rather, Mr. Biggs focuses SSA policy of allowing singular non-disabling ailments to be combined to equal disability. This position is very equitable, but is hardly a reason for the increase in disabled workers whose top two reasons for becoming disabled are cardiac and spinal conditions.

He goes on to declare that “the administration wants to buy time while Congress develops a long term solution.” This again is another version of the blame game. It is Congress’ responsibility to propose and pass legislation which, in turn, is signed or vetoes by the President. A high school student understands this basis civics proposition, but Mr. Biggs would make a bad argument as long as he can cast blame.

Mr. Biggs then points to policies adopted by the Netherlands such as rehabilitative services to retrain workers with disabilities and incentives for employers to retain disability
workers. Although these ideas have merit, there is no proposed legislation as to implement such policies would be very expensive. And, again, many Republicans do not want to pay for bigger government. Therefore, these proposals lack the necessary political will by which to make them a reality.

All in all, its just another day in the DC battlefield of political perception. One side makes its pronouncements hoping for the other side to take the bait and defend. In the end, nothing is getting accomplished while the impending disability benefit implosion remains imminent.

Posted in General Disability Issues | Tagged , , |

 

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