Sorry I’ve been away from my post since my last post in August, but the story continues. In my last post, I noted that The Social Security Administration functions like an insurance company. Not being allowed to raise premiums or change the benefit structure because of the political environment, the agency’s only available strategy for balancing the trust fund budget is to reduce claims paid.
That is where tort reform strategies come in. Here’s where Social Security disability “tort reform” stands:
The politicians are all lined up. Conservative members of both houses of Congress have been steadily banging the drum, and the drumbeat is that the program is rife with fraud and abuse. The fact that this is not true does not affect the legislators in the least. Their constituents eat it up, because it plays into the ever-popular narrative that poor people are unworthy of our generosity.
The press is on board because it has been fed ready-to-publish anecdotes that support the narrative. And publish the stories it has, with the likes of Steve Croft’s “60 Minutes” episode (spoon-fed by Sen. Tom Coburn) about fraud in the program in Eastern Kentucky. Supposedly liberal National Public Radio has shamelessly followed suit by airing a similarly under-researched diatribe in its radio show “This American Life”.
Liberal members of Congress for the most part have stood idly by, presumably electing to save their ammunition for other, more vote-worthy battles. Disabled people unfortunately don’t vote often enough and in large enough numbers. They lack champions.
It appears at this point that a devil’s deal has been made to secure the necessary votes for rebalancing the retirement and disability trust funds. As an apparent result, the Obama administration has moved aggressively to attack poor people in Appalachia. What a story it is that is unfolding in Eastern Kentucky