Monday, January 21, 2008

Social Security Disability and Conspiracy Theorists

I generally don't subscribe to conspiracy theories, but after the recent CBS fluff article on the social security disability system, I wandered a bit through the blogosphere and found this statement on a site titled "Walden's Wits": "No, the reason behind these claim rejections is that Social Security does not have the ability to pay out all the claims."

Is this a crazy statement? Not at all. However, it could benefit from additional information and smoothing. The social security administration and the federal government have no problem funding the retirement and disability benefits programs mandated under the social security act presently. The future ability of the government to sustain this, however, is in question. And not just by a handful of crackpot conspiracy theorists.

Here's a recent statement from a Financial Times article:

"The US is at risk of losing its top-notch triple-A credit rating within a decade unless it takes radical action to curb soaring healthcare and social security spending, Moody's, the credit rating agency, said yesterday."

Does this mean that our nation and way of life are in immediate peril and that all programs nested within SSA are in danger of hitting the chopping block. No, but it probably does mean at least these two things.

1. For the U.S. to maintain as much of its current position as possible in the coming decades, there needs to be a commitment to shoring up the education system (you can neither attract quality jobs or put succeeding generations in the position of obtaining such jobs with a shoddy educational infrastructure) and a commitment to developing a true forward-looking and plan-based national energy policy (because a failure to do so imperils this nation both economically and militarily).

2. Don't expect the social security disability process to become easier at any point in the near future.

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