SSI and the mentally unbalanced people who run it

There is nothing more addictive than spending other people’s money.  And nothing makes us feel more grand than distributing other people’s money to other “other people” whom we think could use it.

Social Security used to be a basic pension.  Pay in for the rest of your working life, and we’ll take care of you after you can no longer work.  That paying in created a large pile of cash at the Treasury, which is rather like supplying a kindergarten classroom with buckets of brightly colored paint and removing all adult supervision. The results are easily predictable.

So your representatives started fingering the Social Security loot like Scrooge McDuck and one of the brilliant ideas they came up with was adding no more payers, but more payees– this time, it was people under retirement age who were unable to work through no fault of their own.  Roy fell through a scaffold at work, broke his back and will never walk again.  Social Security is gonna help Roy by replacing some of that income he can no longer earn.  Well, there can’t be that many Roy’s out there, and it’s a good cause, and there is just SO MUCH MONEY here, that we should do it. So, we did, and it did make a certain sense.

Fast forward to 2012, when the fastest growing segment of SSI recipients are children who never earned a dime in their lives, but who are diagnosed with a disorder like depression or ADHD or ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) or Conduct Disorder or SYGACF (“Something You Get A Check For”).  The bar is incredibly low.  Momma takes you to a special doctor recommended by a nice lawyer, and she tells you, “Just act crazy and we’ll get money and then we’ll get you those new Transformers!”  This is not an exaggeration, as a Child Protective Services worker, I have heard this from the children’s mouths.

My biggest problem is not the fraud, although it is galling. It is the gross stupidity that preceded the decision to take money intended to replace missing income for folks who need it and to give to kids who never earned any and don’t need it.

That’s the addictive power of OPM; it makes you lose your mind.  Other People’s Money is the crack cocaine of Congress.  Never do you hear a crackhead step back from the pipe and say, “Well, no more for me, thanks.  That should be enough for anyone!”  And never do you hear a congressman say that, either.

Categories: Current, more or less | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “SSI and the mentally unbalanced people who run it

  1. Careful Pepper, there is an epidemic of high functioning autistic children out there and the churches can’t or won’t help them. Until they can get a grasp they need help. They can’t get jobs pumping gas anymore and the old folks do all the greeting at Wal-Mart. I agree with you but until the church steps up and does their job,I’m grateful for the SSA. It is tough sending a son to college who hasn’t mastered a microwave oven let alone knows how to drive a car. Some of us can’t afford to quit our jobs and help these folks navigate through life. Try raising a child that can memorize an entire book but can’t write a book report. I believe in rugged individualism but until the church really takes over benevolence again, poor down trodden folks have to turn where they can.

    • Fair enough, Wes. As a social worker, I work day-in and day-out with folks who have serious limitations. I have no fundamental objection to public help for people who cannot help themselves. My objection is to the chicanery involved in the current model. I want my congressman to stand up and say, “We need to help Jim or Bob or Susie. We are the only ones who can do it effectively. So we’re all gonna have to chip in some of our hard-earned cash to pay for it.” That, IMO, is the way it should be done. But today, not only is the system “supplementing” the income of seven year olds who had no income to start with, but they are doing it without standing up and saying, “This is real honest-to-God spending, which requires taxes to cover it.”

      I also agree that the church has pretty much abdicated any stance of helping one another as a matter of general faith and practice. We do okay with the occasional hurricane, and dig down to help, but we don’t do so well with the needs of the family in the pew in front of us. This is going to take more than writing the occasional check. It will take serious, long-term engagement with our communities, with no hope of being repaid in concrete terms. When the local religion club spends all its money on clubhouse maintenance and production costs of its weekly meetings, it has, IMO, lost its way entirely.

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