I have to credit our own Mike Shedlock for writing about how Obama’s been able to drive down the topline unemployment number even though unemployment remains as a big problem today as it has ever been.
I’m often reluctant to piggy back on a contributor’s work, but when something is really newsworthy, I think it’s justified.
Yesterday Mish pointed out that:
In the last year, the civilian population rose by 3,638,000. Yet the labor force only rose by 945,000. Those not in the labor force rose by 2,693,000.
In the last month, actual employment fell by 169,000, but the unemployment rate dropped by .1%.
That is an amazing “achievement” to say the least.
How did Obama do this magic trick of moving unemployment from a high of 10 percent to 8.1 percent without adding, you know, jobs?
Well according to Shedlock, economists at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley say that those on Social Security Disability (SSDI) checks have risen by about 2.2 million.
People who qualify for SSDI are automatically excluded from the workforce, meaning that you can actually have an economy losing jobs while technically the unemployment rate will go down as more people received disability benefits and are subtracted from the workforce.
Social Security Disability is a picture perfect program scam for the Obama administration. It allows Obama to say that unemployment is going down, while adding to the rolls of people who are dependent on some sort of Democrat-Party enabled government assistance.
Prior to these revelations, I had thought that the country’s workforce was shrinking because persistent joblessness was causing people to stop looking for work. In other words, I though it was just another example of Obama’s economic incompetence.
I’m not ruling out incompetence completely, but when the administration has a vested interest in allowing fraud to happen by turning a blind eye, they act like caravan stuck in a sand storm, especially if it adds more potential voters to the dole.
And what’s worse, the damage done to the economy by this type of fraud – and to the legitimately disabled who need the benefits- will take generation to fix.
Because, while joblessness can be reversed with some sensible economic policies, adding to the disability rolls creates permanent damage to the economy from which the country will not recover in generations.
Based on current trends, 7 percent of the nonelderly adult population could be receiving disability benefits by 2018, Richard Burkhauser and Mary Daly wrote in the spring issue of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. That’s two years after the SSDI program will run through its trust fund, according to an April report by the Social Security trustees.
So the Obama administration is using a program that is already insolvent for a kind of off-the-books loan.
And economists say that 99 percent of people who get disability payments remain on the dole for the rest of their life. Or until the country is broke. See Greece.
Even worse, the Bloomberg article makes it clear that disability is serving as a backstop to unemployment insurance. That is, when unemployment insurance runs out, the unemployed are using disability insurance by claiming “’difficult-to- verify disorders,’” including muscle pain and mental illness.”
Last week our own Charles Payne wrote about this phenomenon, calling disability fraud, which he named “crazy checks,” “the biggest scam since the welfare queens of the 1980s.”
It’s an epidemic nobody talks about because it could bleed into the sensitivity associated with legitimate recipients of social security disability insurance payments. The program provides money to people too young to get social security and unable to work.
Last year Dan Mitchell wrote about a Washington Times expose that uncovered a 30 year old man and his roommate who were collecting disability payments under a disability known as adult baby syndrome. The male subject “has been living at least a partial adult baby lifestyle since his teenage years, though he does wear adult clothes when he goes out, fearing embarrassment otherwise,” writes the Times.
Thank God for embarrassment.
Of course embarrassment didn’t stop the guy from doing a reality TV episode where he sported his diapers for viewers.
Nor did embarrassment stop him from threatening suicide when the government started making inquiries into the legitimacy of his “disability.”
We have six months people to turn this around.
We went from a government that was broken and venial to a government that is broke, broken and more venial still.
I’d hate to see what another four years could bring.
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John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance. You can follow him on twitter @bamransom and on Facebook: bamransom.
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