Attacking the disabled

It looks like taking aim at women and minorities is not enough. It now looks like Republicans are going after the disabled.

Democrats are bracing for a new assault from Republicans on the safety net that could come as early as this month — in particular, on disability insurance. In response, Senator Sherrod Brown is urging Dems to go on offense, by calling for an expansion of Social Security, rather than getting into an argument over how much to cut it.

Senator Orrin Hatch has requested a Finance Committee hearing into Social Social Security Disability Insurance — whose trust fund is set to be depleted soon — and Dems on the committee have agreed. It may take place this month, before the August recess.

Republicans such as Senator Tom Coburn have argued that the disability program is being “gamed” by “scalawags,” and that a third of claims are bogus, putting the program in financial trouble. Republicans may use the coming hearing to argue for benefits cuts.

This is all of a piece with the ideology that the only hard workers are those who are wealthy and the rest are moochers and looters who try to game the system by siphoning wealth from the wealthy while putting in the least work. And for those with this mindset, the biggest moochers and looters are the disabled, who try to get something without even working at all.

These may also be using the SSDI fund issue as a lever to go after their real target which is to cut Social Security benefits and/or privatize it.


  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    and that a third of claims are bogus

    Yawn. Mostly this is coming from the same people who are claiming that voter fraud is rampant.

    If there is fraud, find it and prosecute. That is no reason to cut funding for the entire system.

  2. moarscienceplz says

    To the extent that there are “scalawags” (what is this anyway, a Dickens’ novel?), they are mainly of the Rethugicans own making. They refused to extend unemployment benefits, so a lot of laid off workers, particularly workers in their 50s, are begging their doctors to find some medical condition that can get them on disability, because it is either that, or starve. How these GOP shits can claim they are followers of Christ just once again confirms what hypocrites they are.

  3. raven says

    (what is this anyway, a Dickens’ novel?),

    Patience!!! They are getting there.

    Once they abolish the social safety net, child labor laws, EPA, and minimum wage, we are on our way. The Chinese and Mexicans will be complaining bitterly about cheap American goods made by poorly paid labor working under terrible conditions.

    Misters Marx and Engels may even make a Marley type appearance again as the Ghosts of Industrial Age Past.

  4. says

    Hey, they’re the same people who didn’t give a hoot about Arthur Reed and other failures in treating the US military (poor medical care, homelessness, etc.). Why be surprised?

  5. lanir says

    I’m still boggled by claims of fraud in workman’s comp. I watched a friend who was injured by someone else being careless in a hazardous workplace. The insurance company chose to fight the claim so they wouldn’t have to pay out, even though the standard payments honestly aren’t all that great. Nobody’s getting rich by having accidents. We were repeatedly told the company could drag out the case for around seven years. And along the way they try to disrupt the money the government is sending you because the whole goal is to starve you out. They’re not content to pay the mandated numbers for your disability even though they’re lowballed. They try to starve you and make you desperate so they can pitch a deal with an even lower payment.

  6. DsylexicHippo says

    West Virginia has the most number of such “scalawags”. Can’t get more red than that. Yet they vote them in like clockwork.

  7. jcsscj says

    The moochers and looters are the rich.

    They are mooching of their workers by paying not enough.
    They are mooching of their customers by asking too much money for their products.
    Or they do both.

  8. Pierce R. Butler says

    “Scalawags” in political context has historically meant the whites in former Confederate states who cooperated with Reconstruction after the Civil War, favorite scapegoats of reactionary racists and targets of the Ku Klux Klan.

    For Coburn and company to phrase their complaints in such terms confirms yet again the backwards orientation of themselves and the voters to whom they appeal.

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