Thursday, January 16, 2014

Social Security Disability Fund is Rapidly Running Out of Money While Politicians Play Wasteful Games ... In the End,Taxpayers Will Pay

I consider myself a concerned, caring American. My best guess is that you do as well.

I don't mind paying a sufficient amount in taxes to support those in need. My best guess is that neither do you.

I wish government officials would consider the money collected from taxpayers as requiring them (as trustees and fiduciaries of all of We the People) to use common sense while the money is in their care and custody. My best guess is that you feel the same way.

Grand Theft Disability is subtitled 'Rampant abuse may soon require another taxpayer bailout:'

"New York tabloids are having a field day with the news that dozens of ex-cops have been charged with scamming as much as $400 million in Social Security disability benefits. The bigger outrage is that this grand taxpayer theft went undetected for two decades and is merely part of the national scandal that the disability program has become.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. (recently) charged 102 retirees, including 80 former New York police officers and firefighters, with making phony disability claims since as far back as 1988 to obtain Social Security benefits and tax-free pensions equalling up to 75% of their pay. About half of the cheats attributed their "disabilities" to 9/11, even if they never even worked at Ground Zero. . . .

Mr. Vance says the 102 indicted retirees collected on average $210,000 in benefits. Since most are still in their 40s or early 50s, each could have extracted hundreds of thousands more had the racket continued. One alleged fraudster is only 32. Mr. Vance says as many as 1,000 people may have been involved in the scheme, and the investigation is continuing.
What's remarkable about all this is that it's merely an extreme example of what has been happening across the country. Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn's Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs issued an amazing report last October describing how a Kentucky-based disability law firm colluded with a Social Security administrative law judge to abuse the program. . . .

The gist of the Senate report is that the Social Security disability program has vague criteria for qualifying and lacks even the barest oversight, which makes it ripe for abuse. Administrative law judges decide cases independently and are virtually immune to disciplinary action. Politicians enable the fraudsters by denouncing anyone who proposes a fix as an enemy of the disabled.

The truth is that opponents of reform are the ones hurting the truly disabled. The nearby chart shows how disability claims have exploded—to 8.9 million last year from 5.9 million in 2003 and 2.7 million in 1985.

Not coincidentally, that is the year Congress relaxed eligibility standards to make it easier for people reporting pain, discomfort and mental illness to qualify for benefits. . . .

The second chart shows that all of these claims are bleeding the Social Security disability trust fund, which paid out $137 billion in benefits in 2012 or nearly twice as much as a decade ago. Without reform, the fund is on track to go broke in 2016, triggering either a 20% cut in benefits for all recipients or one more taxpayer bailout.

You'd think that fixing this mess would be a Washington priority, but Mr. Coburn and a few others are voices in the wilderness. Instead the country is treated to a political game over extended jobless benefits that might even be affordable if the Obama Administration cared a whit about stopping disability fraud. The polls say public trust in government is falling to new lows, but judging by the open secret of disability insurance scams it isn't nearly low enough."

Summing Up

In Washington today, while the political debate is focused on extending unemployment benefits and raising the minimum wage, addressing how to properly pay for them (BY ATTACKING GOVERNMENT WASTE) is being ignored. It's business as usual.

And the reason for this is simple: the vast majority of government officials do not establish their priorities based on serving the best interests of all of We the People, INCLUDING SPENDING TAXPAYER MONEY PROPERLY. It's business as usual.

It's a non-serious approach to governance, and it's one we can no longer afford. Business as usual has to change.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

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