It gets tiring, lately even the left is claiming a social security check is the poor person's get out clause. The attacks on the disabled seem never ending and now seem to be coming from BOTH the left and the right. To the right we are all lazy bums that won't get a job and moochers crashing the economy even while trillions are sent overseas. The left used to be more understanding but now seems to be joining some of the decrying voices. Hey the police state is now A-OK with the left now so why not hate on the disabled and blaming the poor? This article outraged me so much I had to post on it. Basically the article has the theme undergirding it that disabled people are malingerers all "playing the system".
To be frank with you all, I am scared of the days coming where they will toss us all in the gutter. I'm praying to God to take care of me. I have several disabling conditions, the biggies are the heart and lungs. The lungs went before I became fat. My heart was damaged from undiagnosed thyroid disease not just obesity itself. I even attempted a career change and went to vocational rehab by the age of 23 to avoid disability. Even if I woke up thin tomorrow, there would still be serious health conditions to cope with such as losing my hearing and balance.
The reality is $12,000 a year isn't much, and many people on SSI make even less. No one says "Hurray, I get to be disabled!". I wish I had lungs that worked, I wish I was not housebound, it stinks, and it kills your fun even if you have all day off. Becoming disabled is hard. No one wants to throw away their dreams and place in society, but when your body doesn't work right, there is no other choice. The loss of one's health is one of the biggest losses any one person can face.
I thought I would have a nice teaching job when I was out of college, I didn't see me being ground into the dirt and denied health insurance and forced to work jobs that didn't buy me a stable life or even a safe and decent place to live. With my health, I failed teaching job medical exams. The only good job I had was the art teacher at an alternative school job but sadly that was part time with no medical benefits and short term grant based. My residential care job was so low paid and long hours, I lived in the ghetto getting sicker and sicker, even having to spend a total of 2 hours on the bus to get there back and forth a day while dealing with potentially violent clients. The "medical insurance" had a $1,000 dollar spend down, my bills were so large, I let even that go. Substitute teaching paid some of the bills but didn't provide benefits. Yes to this day, I wonder how my life would have gone if things had been stable and I had decent medical care on the front end.
So this is one of the most clueless articles I've seen in a long time. This guy has no idea. He is another smug urban sophisticate pontificating from his tower on high.
Read the article here:
Unfit for Work
1. THE AUTHOR IGNORES THE REALITY OF POOR PEOPLE'S LIVES
They ignore the fact that many disabled people move to poor rural areas to survive. I did so. If I had not left one big city, I would have been homeless and the life I lived there was horrendous where resources were in very short supply and the climate of high crime and danger weighed heavily. Of course there are some disabled people who are unable to move or get out of dangerous areas, whose options are even fewer.
The reason many go to rural areas however is, your rent will be cheaper. So Hale County will have more disabled people then NYC where the disabled would be living in a card board box and unable to afford the basics of everyday life. One can tell when a rich person writes articles, they do not get realities of rich vs poor life. Their judgments are skewed. Sadly the elite are running the media, but some of this stuff, they show how out of touch they are. I know that I cannot live in a city or town over a certain population, that will force me as a low income person on disability to either end up living in a very dangerous high crime area, or non-suitable living conditions. So there is a reason there is a preponderance of disabled people living in small rural areas.
"In Hale County, Alabama, 1 in 4 working-age adults is on disability. On the day government checks come in every month, banks stay open late, Main Street fills up with cars, and anybody looking to unload an old TV or armchair has a yard sale."
2. WHAT MATTERS IS IF YOU CAN HIDE THE ILLNESS OR NOT AND WHAT LEVEL YOU ARE FUNCTIONING AT.
I did hard low wage work, the problem with low wage work, is you have to be in better shape then the guy at the desk. Desk jobs and sit down jobs are getting hard for even those with college degrees to get. In my old rural town, there were people with college degrees and even experience with higher level jobs, relegated to working on your feet service jobs. Factory work was rare and hard to get and getting more dear. Our economy is sliding into an abyss, where the choice has become between a thin sliver of "good" middle class jobs whose numbers are growing far fewer that mostly only the well-connected can get and manual labor and "on your feet for hours" service jobs. The latter actually are being snapped up by immigration leaving more and more people desperate for any work. His focus on education is skewed ignoring the realities of endless unemployed and underemployed people who have college degrees. Here we see an Obama supporter who probably believes that the economy is "improving".
And if you are old, or have any personality differences or even minor health difficulties you are forced to work harder then the "normal" people to prove yourself.. During the days when there were family businesses and local business that was part of the social contract things were far more forgiving on people then today's megacorporations that just see people as cogs in the wheel and demand higher levels of conformity and allow for fewer "minor" health problems or other differences. This statement by the author show such utter cluelessness about the reality of working class life I was flabbergasted.
People don't seem to be faking this pain, but it gets confusing. I have back pain. My editor has a herniated disc, and he works harder than anyone I know. There must be millions of people with asthma and diabetes who go to work every day. Who gets to decide whether, say, back pain makes someone disabled?
Is he kidding me?
There is a big difference too between an occasional asthma attack, and daily breathing problems that are centered around chronic bronchitis and COPD even if you never smoked, and a back twinge and debilitating back pain that renders you unable to get out of bed. It's all relative. And big differences between what is required at a low-key office job, what is expected in a class room, the factory floor, or a retail job where you are literally on your feet for 8 hours.
Severe breathing problems make working beyond difficult. In my pre-disability days, I would go to work crying because I could not breathe, I had many tearful mornings during my commutes, hoping and praying I'd get through the day and if I was at one of my sub teaching job, I had to hide even the smallest snippets of pain and distress. There were times, I was in acute asthma attacks, trying to manage classrooms. Leaving was not an option unless I got so sick, I couldn't hide what was happening. Throwing up every morning from breathing difficulties actually became part of my daily routine.
We are talking puking and coughing up phlegm in the bathroom having to hide it from employers and having to do things like hiding a breathing nebulizer in a teaching office. At my last job, abuse for my health conditions was extreme, where I was mocked for hair loss. Instead of people understanding that weight gain could be medically caused, I was taken into offices and dressed down for gaining weight so fast and yelled at "To get yourself together!"
Anxiety from severe health and having to get through a day, where I would collapse into the bed with exhaustion. Getting in trouble over having my hair fall out--written up for hygiene when I could not afford or find a decent wig. . The difference is the pain that shows. If you can hide the pain, and say get through a work meeting without racing to the bathroom due to an IBS attack, try that fun as you get written up for spending too much time in the bathroom, or not show your grey face from passing out from your lungs closing down, there within lies the difference. How about having to work around vats of stinky chemicals in a factory when you are an asthmatic or being told you have to lift a 150lb patient when alone or being berated by a co-worker because you could not hear what a client said?
How many people do I know who have been laid off, due to simply SLOWING DOWN with age? One I know was told they had to work 14-16 hours a day instead of 12 in a salary position and they said with all honesty "I can't do it, I'm pushing myself now", and they were laid off into perpetual underemployment and scrapping by for survival.
One job where I had to mop floors, a fast food job after a lay-off I was severely allergic to the caustic soap used to clean the grease off the floors and thankfully I had a kind manager, because I could see me being fired, it would instantly make my lungs close up. So there were moments of mercy in all the mess but they were few.
Here is another clueless statement about disability. This one too made my jaw drop.
3. DISABILITY IS NOT THAT EASY TO GET.
They may be right about the increased numbers, but to blame it on people being malingers and trying to game the system is a load of garbage. During hard economic times, disability is even harder to get. It is not that easy to get disability. You can't just walk in and say "I'm sick now give me my check!". I would argue that Americans are getting sicker. Why? Because our lifestyle is untenable, the social connections have broken down, there is no social contract, no help out there, the food is garbage, and people are getting sicker younger. He names back pain and mental illness as the fasting growing causes of disability but acts like these are nothing.
"The health problems where there is most latitude for judgment -- back pain, mental illness -- are among the fastest growing causes of disability."
Does this author know to get a mental health disability, you have to prove that you have had at least several times of decompensation where you absolutely could not function? We are talking mental hospital in patient treatment that is repetitive not just once. These are people who hear voices, and who need social workers to manage their affairs. I know at least two people with serious back pain denied disability, you can't just walk in fill out an application for back pain and boom you are done. If your back injury or illness doesn't show on an MRI, you aren't going to get disability. Even with physical disabilities you have to prove things.
It gets even worse, he writes:
"But disability has also become a de facto welfare program for people without a lot of education or job skills. But it wasn't supposed to serve this purpose; it's not a retraining program designed to get people back onto their feet. "
This is a lie. This guy acts like anyone can walk off the street and get a disability check. There are many people WITHOUT jobs who have college degrees. This liberal canard that a college degree is a ticket to guaranteed employment is failing. One thing I notice in these false articles from the left is they claim that a college degree and education is an automatic ticket to a good job. Why that myth has refused to die disturbs me. Why hasn't this author even looked at the realities of life for most of his fellow journalists many of whom happen to be unemployed as the newspapers in this nation crash and burn? I guess writing propaganda for the elites pays well. The elites are greedy. Do your own math as to why this article was even written.
4. WHAT DO THE EMPLOYERS WANT?
I know so many smart people denied decent employment. People who studied even practical fields like IT. People who have had their lives ruined by lack of employment. I often have wondered what the outcome of my life would have been if I had a decent job with good medical insurance at an early age, so I could have gotten help with my undiagnosed illnesses.
People you know could be given a job and do it well. We are entering a society now where only the well-heeled and well-connected are being allowed in and the elite want it that way. What is going to happen in a society where so many people are "throw-aways" and told they do not belong anywhere? This has been a theme within my own life. Remember that NPR though it is liberal and left represents the ELITE. Even education has become more about being able to afford a special piece of paper with tens of thousands of dollars or borrowing tens of thousands of dollars rather then learning or acquiring actual definable skills.
Do the Americans really lack the skills and education? Or is it that they sent all the jobs overseas? or they are importing immigrants to do the jobs for slave wages? Or that they are increasingly being denied a chance and an opportunity to prove themselves and this is the excuse? The author mentions one off handed comment about manufacturing failing but it deemed far more of a mention. The skills of people are not being cultivated or even used. The smallest difference now, and you are weeded out. Even those who are moderately overweight know how strong the discrimination is, and that is the healthy people who can walk and move unencumbered. We have entered a world where even the smallest difference, MINOR medical problems, aging, cognitive differences or personality ones, seems to render people on the outs forever. Are the age discrimination laws even on the books anymore? I saw what happened to my husband as he aged a bit, and slowed down. They are throwing people overboard all the time. Even if you manage to get a job, and do well at it, it doesn't stay secure.
Or that the educational requirements are more about class and weeding people out who actually could DO the work presented? Of course being a doctor and an auto mechanic, one needs specific skills and knowledge but I am talking about the endless number of paper-pushing and other kinds of jobs out there. Sometimes I read job ads for a family members and they are so specific, it's like they want a robot rather then a thinking human being.
"Somewhere around 30 years ago, the economy started changing in some fundamental ways. There are now millions of Americans who do not have the skills or education to make it in this country."
The employment process in this country seems to have grown over-formalized, and for the elite, to keep the so called "riff-raff" out. He is a defender of this wall so to speak. I am going to call out that his statement that there are millions of Americans without skills or education to make it, as total nonsense. How about the fact that there is no on the job training anymore?
How can you give disabled people a hard time when one knows out there in the job market, even a little bit of old age, or MINOR health conditions is enough to kick one out of the running? My health problems are serious. I believe I would have died long long ago if I was not on disability. Even writing this blog, I have to time the writing around pressure sores, a hand that goes numb and making sure I do not sit up too long and retain water, so this one took two days to write. Hidden disabilities in my case go along with the stuff that shows. I am sick of all the hate on the disability. To me this is a postcard from the elite, that they plan to toss us into the gutter soon. Are there some cheats out there? Sure there are. But there are systems in place to find them, something this guy seems unaware of. If you are on disability they do put you under review, they send paper work to your doctor. They get your medical records down at Medicare knowing what is happening to you.
But labeling everyone who is disabled as a malingerer who wants to "game" the system is absolutely disgusting. It's getting very scary. By the way if you are a supersized person who is on disability, the hatred out there is bad. Unless people know you and what you personally suffer they see you as scum of the earth taking from the system. I am not surprised the so called "progressive" left has jumped on the blame the disabled bandwagon.
It's funny how they never question the system but just prop it up.