Being inside the belly of Social Services has granted me an inside view of what some people appear willing to do to work the system. It grates me more now than it did when I started working for a local government agency, but at the end of the day I believe there are more people being helped that could not help themselves than are actually working the system.
The volume of anecdotes of the worst offenders often devolves into a silhouette of the average person on assistance. being. Like most issues in our culture since TV bedazzled us iconic images drive many issues, while not always coming close to telling the whole story.
Well before I found out about the 2% in Social Security I developed serious concerns on the health of the Social Security program. Not only are record people coming up for it every day (10,000 people qualify a day every day for 19 more years) but the fund was raided to sponsor post 9/11 wars and there are also large numbers of people ending up on the Disability rolls.
This is all compounded with the design being outrun by true statistics. In 1976 when adjustments collection to maintain the system were made the data was much different. The average life expectancy in 1976 for males was 69.1 and 76.6 for females. In 2012 the life span average for people in the US was 75.71 for males and 81.73 for females. With the leaps in medicine since then it stands to reason that people who received increasingly better medical care (diagnostics alone have had a mind blowing leap since 1976) will live to an older age.
I would rant about it. Wondering if it was going to be addressed at all before it was bursting at the seams. I even pissed off one of my very good friends with my point of view and he is hard to shake. I felt and still feel people receiving SSD or SSI (mainly to help in the process of breaking drug addiction) should be evaluated more regularly than they are now. You don’t want to break someone’s recovery, but you also don’t want to purchase people’s sobriety, you want to empower them to change for the better of themselves and society. I don’t know how to go about starting such a process, but something should be done to address this. The fact that there are attorneys who make their practice off this field alone speaks as much to the problem as anything.
Of course I don’t want to just nibble at the neediest to end of the issue. While the upper crust of society doesn’t always pay in (nor do they receive the benefit) if they truly admire and love what this country is (was?) about they would do more by either investing in the system or creating jobs with solid pay and good benefits. If most of the job creation of the last decade is in the service industry, which typically pays poorly with little to no benefits, while the good paying jobs continued to ebb further into a chasm in funding that erodes any chance of keeping up with increased demand.
So while I don’t want to see money coming out of my check in this economy I see the sense in it. I don’t think it does much of anything to shore up the health of the program for me, but I see the merits of propping it up now. I become baffled when I hear people who this will benefit grousing about it more than people of my generation. Greed and the wholly self interested brackish lake it breeds in has infected popular culture to the point that greedy people are not Han Solo, quasi anti hero, but they are Darth Vader. It can choke you out like Vader too, if you get caught up in it.
I know I have a shit sandwich to eat down the road. The least the generation handing this sordid sandwich on down can do is take a few bites before passing the plate like the most unwanted baton in history- take some huge bites out of that bad boy, no not a nibble, get in there with that thar pig.