Thursday, October 24, 2013

Alternative thoughts

I read this passage:
For some people, disability insurance has become a way of exiting the labor force. It's hard for me to get into high dudgeon over these people, because I suspect that many of them have at least mild disabilities and also lousy job prospects, especially the last few years. But the hard fact is that the disability insurance program has limited funds, and is headed for bankruptcy. If it pays those funds to a substantial number people who are only marginally disabled,  and could be working, it cannot pay higher benefits to the more severely disabled.
in the context of this passage
There are private-sector consulting companies who are hired by states and paid several thousand dollars for every person who they manage to shift from a cash welfare program, which is partly funded by the state, over to disability insurance, which is funded by the federal government. 
And my reaction is very different than the original authors.  On one hand, I think that the possibility that disability funds might dry up is a call to raising revenue.  Helping the disabled (even the partially disabled) out is one of the characteristics of basic  human decency.

On the other hand, maybe we should just stop having the federal government subsidize state programs and simply run them directly. Because these games waste a ton of resources without actually making the system work any better.  A beggar thy neighbor strategy, in the long run, leads to everyone being poor.

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