According to Fox News there can’t possibly be millions of disabled people in America, so the people who are on disability are mooching off the government.
Here is the video from Media Matters:
UPDATE: If the video is not working you can watch it here.
Steve Doocy started off the segment by asking, “”Are more people getting sick and disabled, or are we just wasting more money?” Doocy then brought in right wing talk show host, and the author of the book A Nation of Moochers, Charles Sykes, and asked him, “So, has the number of people on disability gone up because they are moochers, or because more people need help?”
I’ll give you three guesses where the author a book on national mooching stood on that one, “You have to ask yourself. Have we had an epidemic of disability? Have we become that much less healthy of a society, or do we have an epidemic of dependency.” Sykes said that the disability program has been turned into another pathway into dependency in the entitlement culture.
Later Sykes broke out the Ayn Rand, “This is one of those moments we have to step back and say, OK, do we really want a safety net that is targeted at the genuinely disabled, or are we just creating another program for the takers in society? I mean this thing has ballooned to about a 130 billion dollars a year. There’s no indication that it’s going to slow down any time soon, and, quite frankly, you know the whole approach of the Americans with Disabilities Act was to integrate the disabled back into society. What this program is doing is essentially saying, no, you don’t have to work, we’re going to create this permanent alternative, and unfortunately that means that a lot of people, I think, are figuring out that it’s easier to collect these checks than it is to go get a job, integrate into society, and learn what earned success is all about.”
Fox News compared the number of people on disability today to the number of people receiving benefits 52 years ago. There are many reasons why more Americans are on disability. Including an aging population, advances in medicine, and population growth. The reality is that it is very difficult for people with disabilities to find a job. Before the Bush recession, only 16% of disabled men, and 15% of disabled women were employed.
There is still rampant employment discrimination against the disabled. Many Americans with disabilities who lost their jobs in the recession have to turned the disability program for economic survival.
These millions of Americans aren’t lazy. They want to work. Many of the people who are collecting disability now have worked in the past. The sharp rise in Americans on disability has more to do with conservative policies that crashed the economy than any culture of entitlement or mooching.
Disabled people faced major employment hurdles before the recession, now the situation is even worse. The demonization and perpetuation of stereotypes against the disabled by Fox News and Charles Sykes was not only cruel, it was also despicable.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association