Saturday, March 23, 2013

Creating poor incentives: "The Startling Rise of Disability in America"

National Public Radio (NPR) has a terrific article (and graphs!!) on the rise in the number of people receiving Federal Disability Compensation.  It is quite eye-opening.

Seems like this program has resulted in TONS of un-intended consequences.

People have an incentive to lie and they are enabled to do so by government and other self-interested parties (read the part about the "disability-industrial complex"). 

It creates a lack of respect for a well-intentioned program and causes the rest of the population to be more cynical about government than is necessary.    
"...The federal government spends more money each year on cash payments for disabled former  workers than it spends on food stamps and welfare combined. Yet people relying on disability payments are often overlooked in discussions of the social safety net.  
People on federal disability do not work. Yet because they are not technically part of the labor force, they are not counted among the unemployed.

In other words, people on disability don't show up in any of the places we usually look to see how the economy is doing. But the story of these programs -- who goes on them, and why, and what happens after that -- is, to a large extent, the story of the U.S. economy. It's the story not only of an aging workforce, but also of a hidden, increasingly expensive safety net...."  NPR. "Unfit for Work: The startling rise in disability in America"

I encourage you to read it.  It is important for understanding the citizen-to-government relationship and how a breakdown in this relationship (mainly a lack of respect) is very harmful to the nation.
View My Stats