“Unfit to Work”
Both of my parents worked for General Motors “on the line” as they say. When I was about nine, Mom was out of work for two years because of muscle problems. Dad has similar issues when I was a sophomore in high school which meant time off from the factory.
Working on the line was not an easy job. It meant a lot of time standing, doing repetative work. But as much stress that the job placed on the body, they pay was good and helped me to have a life that would be more than working at GM, something that my parents didn’t want me to do.
I thought about my parents as I listened to a special report from NPR’s Planet Money Team. If you have an hour, you might want to listen to the report, which appeared on this week’s episode of This American Life. Reporter Channa Joffe-Walt tries to find out why there has been a spike in the number of persons on Social Security Disability Benefits. You might think the problem is that there are a lot of scammers, but as Joffe-Walt notes, the real answer is a lot more complex and not as easy to solve.
In the end it’s about America’s changing economy, from one based on manufacturing to one based on service and about the unintended results of the 1990s reform to welfare.
Listen and learn.