Are we still at this?
Of course we are.
Some of us are anyway.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is claiming that there is widespread fraud in the country’s disability system because most people who get benefits merely suffer from anxiety or sore backs.
At a meeting with legislative leaders in Manchester, NH on Wednesday, caught on tape by American Bridge, Paul told the room:
“The thing is that all of these programs, there’s always somebody who’s deserving, everybody in this room knows somebody who’s gaming the system. I tell people that if you look like me and you hop out of your truck, you shouldn’t be getting a disability check. Over half the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club. Who doesn’t get up a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts? Everyone over 40 has a back pain.”
Dear Senator Paul,
Nobody wants to be disabled.
Most people as in almost everybody wants to work.
The number of people on disability who don’t want to work is nothing next to the number of people who want to work but can’t work because they’re disabled!
The number of people on disability who don’t want to work is vanishingly small next to the number of people on disability who want to work but can’t work because employers discriminate against people with disabilities or can’t or won’t afford to make accommodations that would enable them to work.
Everybody is only temporarily abled. At some point in our lives all of us will be disabled to the point of not being able to work. Some of us by injury, some of by illness---including mental illness---all of us by old age. It’s that last disablement that has caused the number of people collecting disability to increase in the last couple of decades. Lots of Baby Boomers have grown too old to do the work their jobs require. Old age is relative. Coal miners, construction workers, farm workers, people who work on their feet all day, people who work with their backs get old sooner than college professors and United States Senators, neither of whom, by the way, work close to a full fifty-two weeks a year or, averaged out, five days a week or eight hours a day, and have any business lecturing people who do put in a full day’s, week’s, and year’s worth of work for very little money, few benefits, and no paid vacation or sick days, and, if you and your fellow Republicans in Congress work your will, no hope of collecting disability if they get injured on the job or get old before their time worn out and worn down by working physically punishing jobs their whole adult lives and develop “back problems” or “anxiety” on their lack of a proper work ethic.
“Back pain”? “A little anxious”? That’s all that’s wrong with them?
I have “back pain”. It has a cause. Spondylolisthesis. You went to medical school. You probably know what that is. Two of my vertebrae are fractured and out of place, pinching the nerves to my legs. There are days I can barely walk. I can’t stand for more the a few minutes at a stretch on even my best days. I’m not on disability. I have a job. I teach college. I can and do work sitting down in a comfortable chair. Days when the pain gets too much for me, if I don’t have to be in class, I can take off. I can spend hours lying flat on my back on the floor. I’m lucky. If I was a construction worker or a coal miner I wouldn’t be able to do this. I wouldn’t be able to work. I’d be out of a job.
A reminder. Not being able to work = DISABLED!
I hear there are a few coal miners in your state.
Ever been down in one of the mines?
Think you could work down in one of those all day with “back pain”?
As for being “a little anxious”? By “a little anxious” do you mean “suffering from a severe and debilitating mental illness like depression”?
Do you even know what depression means? How it afflicts people?
Do you know anything at all about human psychology? For instance, do you know that people who are obsessed with the idea that other people are chiselers and thieves are usually chiselers and thieves themselves? Do you know that the sins and vices we’re most offended by are usually the ones we’re ignoring in ourselves? Do you remember what Jesus said about the mote and the beam?
Apparently, you don’t.
How in God’s name did you earn a medical degree without any understanding or sympathy of and for human beings’ physical and mental frailty?
Yours in the good fortune neither of us deserve,
PS. You should read this whole article at ThinkProgress. You’re mentioned.