A Nation of Malingerers: from Welfare Queens to Disabled Deadbeats

Paul Krugman remarks on the so far unsuccessful attempts Republicans are making in trying to change their rhetoric:

The growing number of Americans receiving disability payments has, for many on the right, become a symbol of our economic and moral decay; we’re becoming a nation of malingerers. As Jared Bernstein points out, there’s a factual problem here: a large part of the rise in the disability rolls reflects simple demographics, because aging baby boomers are a lot more likely to have real ailments than those same workers did when they were in their 20s and 30s. [...]

And let’s not forget our military veterans — fighting and getting wounded in the Bush Wars. They have also added to the disability rolls. Krugman continues:

What strikes me, however, isn’t just the way the right is trying to turn a reasonable development into some kind of outrage; it’s the political tone-deafness.

I mean, when Reagan ranted about welfare queens driving Cadillacs, he was inventing a fake problem — but his rant resonated with angry white voters, who understood perfectly well who Reagan was targeting. But Americans on disability as moochers? That isn’t, as far as I can tell, an especially nonwhite group — and it’s a group that is surely as likely to elicit sympathy as disdain. There’s just no way it can serve the kind of political purpose the old welfare-kicking rhetoric used to perform.

The same goes, more broadly, for the whole nation of takers thing. First of all, a lot of the “taking” involves Social Security and Medicare. And even the growth in means-tested programs is largely accounted for by the Earned Income Tax Credit — which requires and rewards work — and the expansion of Medicaid/CHIP to cover more children. Again, not the greatest of political targets.

Meanwhile, John Boehner jiggles a shiny thing at the GOP voting-base (which is filled to capacity with “malingerers”), to divert attention away from his party’s budget priorities:

In a special message to the annual anti-abortion protest March for Life, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) vowed that ending abortion would be one of the top priorities of Republicans this year.

“Defending life, of course, is about much more than voting the right way or saying the right things,” he said. “It’s about promoting a culture of life. It’s about understanding that abortion is a defining human rights issue of our time. Because human life is not an economic or political commodity, and no government on Earth has the right to treat it as such.”

“With all that’s at stake, it is becoming more and more important for us to share this truth with our young people, to encourage them to lock arms, speak out for life, and help make abortion a relic of the past,” Boehner continued. “Let that be one of our most fundamental goals this year.”

REALLY! Making abortion a relic is a “top priority” for Republicans this year? If that were true, Republicans would be funding Planned Parenthood and be supportive of educating young people on contraception – they’d be providing young people with free contraception, which has proved to be the best and most successful way to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and abortions.

According to the GOP, life is sacred until it separates from the womb — it then joins the ranks of the makers or the takers.

Here’s something for the tax-paying ‘Mericans to keep in mind when sequestration hits in 32 days:

via seriouslyamerica

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2 thoughts on “A Nation of Malingerers: from Welfare Queens to Disabled Deadbeats

  1. Count my family among the deadbeats- the people who live in my household are
    -myself- 53 and been working full time since I was 16. I, of course LOVE the idea of raising the retirement age. Love. It.
    -my husband- 61 (on Thursday) and on disability. He lost his job 4 years ago- they fired him because he was losing too much work time “for all the cancer stuff”. If he wasn’t admitted to the hospital he was at his desk- never took a single day off for recuperation. He was ‘lucky’ and got on disability- perhaps his missing various body parts from multiple surgeries (including 1/4 of his face) was the ‘lucky’ part there. We’re still fighting the cancer battle btw- over 11 years now. He also has heart disease and diabetes. He’s not a smoker OR drinker and is NOT overweight- I have to work to get him ‘up to’ skinny.
    -my son- 13 (next month) who receives a check because his dad’s a cripple
    -our retired disabled veteran friend- 70 and deaf
    -HIS mother- 93 who worked full time for over SIXTY years

    All sucking at the government teat when they SHOULD be out being greeters at Walmart or flipping burgers- jobs they’ll have to fight people 1/4 of their age who have 300% better health than they do to get, but JEEBUS get some gumption! Right?

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