Friday, April 12, 2013

More Americans Are On Disability

MSN money reports that disability claims have surged since 2007.  The article does briefly mention the increased likely hood of fraudulent claims but says that the overriding factor is demographic changes as the reason, or in sort, more old people more claims. I call bullshit.  There are fewer people working jobs that require the kind of physical labor were you could through your back out.  Sure I could see a girl hurting herself after years of lifting boxes full of paper reams; but my point is that our jobs have become less demanding, not more. 

The fact is that when you have areas where Americans are on disability is indicative of a problem. That problem could be fraudulent claims or very lax oversight by our administrators.  This is costing us tens of billions of dollars and is only set to keep growing.  I can't help but think there might be something to one commentators quip:

How to shrink the UE rate by 3 percentage points without creating any jobs:

1. Take a few million older workers off the UE rolls, put them on SS and call them retired.
2. Take a few million more workers off the UE rolls, put them on SSI and call them disabled.
3. Take a few million more workers off the UE rolls, give them loans and grants and call them students. 
Given our generally crappy economic performance and outlook the government has a strong incentive to not be as zealous when it comes to sussing out less than honest claims about disability.  I'm sure you have all know, or heard of, a person that claims disability because they suffer a condition that prevents them from working but have no problem going out on a Friday night and living it up.  And I'm not talking about a person going out to get a drink, see a movie, or relax by a pool. I am talking about a person going out, getting shit faced, and dancing the night away.

It's quiet simple, if you can exert yourself strenuously in activities like hiking, dancing, heavy weightlifting, surfing, sky diving, skiing or  then you aren't disabled even if you have a nagging injury that gives you pain. And I am not talking out of my ass, I have experience with this. Some number of years ago I was in a car accident that messed my back up pretty good. It was during the State swim meet and I wasn't able to been over without taking a lot of muscle relaxants and pain medication; needless to say I wasn't going best times even though I managed to compete.

For most of my college athletic experience I suffered from some pretty bad back pain. I would be 'fine' but then I would move a certain way or push myself a little too hard and I would spend the next week barely being able to move. Funny thing though, all those years I spent avoiding exercises that would 'set' my back off like dead lift, squats, Romanian dead lifts, didn't do me any good. I have a friend, very knowledgeable in lifting, that forced me to do the exercises with light weight and perfect form. I gradually worked my way up to heavy weights and I noticed that by the end of it I no longer had any back pain, spasms, weakness anymore. I wouldn't say I am 100%, but I am at least 85% or better.  But I digress,the point was simply to state that I was probably injured enough that if I had really tried I could have sought out disability of some sort if I was lazy and unscrupulous.

The point is that there are a lot of people out there claiming fraudulent disability and there are probably even more receiving disability for ailments that could be fixed if they only put in the time and effort. Considering that they are drawing public funds you would think that the government would have an incentive to make sure fraudulent claims were filed or that people would get off their roles as soon as possible, in the case that they physically could fix themselves, but there is an overriding force at the moment.

We know what this force is, progressivism, and how it incentivize people from making decisions that do not benefit society at large because the this force disincentives individualism and personal responsibility. And we also know that our government won't address this issue with 100% resolve because every person off of disability is another person that counts towards unemployment.


  1. Less physical labor doesn't necessarily tranlate into fewer "legitimate" disability claims. Most disabilities aren't caused by actual injuries (work related or otherwise) they are caused by poor lifestyle choices such as obesity, diabetes, ect. Throw mental health into the mix.

    1. That may be true but the overriding point as that disability claims have skyrocketed since 2007. There is no reason, other than our poor economic conditions, for this tremendous rise.


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Seattle resident whose real name is Kevin Daniels. This blog covers the following topics, libertarian philosophy, realpolitik, western culture, history and the pursuit of truth from the perspective of a libertarian traditionalist.