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View Diary: How 'This American Life' got the disability story wrong (146 comments)

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  •  Story wrong on Social Security retirement (0+ / 0-)

    Some of the criticism of the story seems to me to be a judgment call, much like disability determinations themselves. But the last paragraph, where it says the Social Security retirement fund will "run out" of money in 2035 is flat out wrong.

    The correct statement is that in 2035, barring any changes in the meantime, there will not be enough in the piggy bank to pay retirement benefits in full. Not the story's implication that they can not be paid at all. The fund could pay ⅔, or better, of benefits indefinitely, probably better once the swollen Boomer generation leaves the program at the far end. That's why the retirement system needs only fairly minor tweaking, compared to health care, which remains a mess, Obamacare or no.

    Indeed, besides the skills mismatch that leaves these workers unqualified for jobs within their diminished physical capabilities (and the demand mismatch that places few such jobs in the generally impoverished places they live), accessibility to health care is a big incentive to go on disability. And, by the way, don't discount economic incentives. Frankly, if we set up a system of perverse incentives where people can apply for cash payments if their children do badly in school, a lot of children will do badly in school.

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