Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Disability Fight: Followup

picture of a stack of newspapers with NEWS in big bold headline at the top
Igor Bobic, Arthur Delaney, Huffington Post - January 14, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul couldn’t have laid out a more appealingly wrong case that Social Security Disability is broken:
“What I tell people is, if you look like me and you hop out of your truck, you shouldn’t be getting your disability check. Over half of the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club,” he added. “Who doesn’t get up a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts. Everybody over 40 has a little back pain.”
The problem isn’t that he is wrong, that, in fact, many people are severely debilitated by “anxiety”, and that “back pain” can be devastating. The problem is that what he says here is exactly how a lot of otherwise decent people really think about disability, and about Social Security Disability. In fact, there are probably a lot of disabled people who think this way, too.

The other big potential problem is that Rand Paul, specifically, gets way more benefit of more doubt than most Republicans, because he’s a “Libertarian”. He’s a U.S. foreign policy skeptic. He’s a rare, if inconsistent voice agains the National Security State. He’s favorably disposed towards pot legalization and against the War On Drugs. Sen. Paul is an appealing figure to people who crave someone with a “different” approach to the usual issues, but who aren’t that interested in following ideas to their logical policy conclusions.

I don’t know how to combat this kind of rhetoric, but we’d better figure out soon, because I think we’re going to hear a lot more of it in the near future.

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