I hate to tell you this, but you are making things up. Back in 2012, Bill O'Reilly went on the air with accusations like yours about how the Obama administration was intentionally making it easy for people to file disability claims in order to create more voters dependent on government blah blah blah, the usual horsebleep. At the same time, the CBO (which, I am sure I must remind you, is a non-partisan body that both political parties rely for unbiased research) issued a study of the increase in disability rolls. The CBO found that the increase arose from an aging population, a surge in women workers, changes in the law in the 1980s and a terrible economy in which disabled people couldn't find jobs. The biggest jumps in the disabled population came from aging Baby Boomers. From 1996 through 2009 -- "the approximate period during which the baby-boom generation entered their 50s -- the share of disabled worker benefits awarded to older workers (age 45 and older) rose from 67 percent to 76 percent," the report said.
Meanwhile, the share of benefits going to younger workers -- between the ages of 25 to 44 -- fell from 31 percent to 22 percent."Baby boomers' aging would have boosted enrollment in the DI program even if no other factors had changed," the report said. More women have entered the workforce since 1970, creating a larger pool of people who can become disabled. Finally, change in the law during the Reagan administration that allowed more people with mental disabilities and musculoskeletal problems to qualify also increased the number of people on disability. In 1990, such people accounted for 38 percent of workers in the SSDI program. In 2010, the number had risen to 54 percent.
But the rolls aren't soaring! They are growing half as fast as they grew under Bush. Can you not grasp elementary arithmetic?
And by the way, what changes are you referring to? Can you document your claim? Put up or shut up.
Try to stick to a topic, difficult as that may be for you. You posted numbers that (according to you) showed that disability cases were soaring under Obama. YOUR OWN FIGURES showed this to be at best a misunderstanding and at worst a deliberate deception, as the disability rolls are growing less than half as fast under Obama as they grew under Bush. The point of the rest of my post was that this decrease in the rate of growth wasn't so much the result of Obama's actions as it was the result of the end of the Iraq War, during which hundreds of thousands of vets sought assistance returning to civilian life. Now that the war is over, that flood of injured vets has dwindled to a trickle, which accounts for much of the decine in the rate of caseload growth.
An increase of 49.7 percent over 12 years (2003-2015) is 4.1% a year. An increase of 31% over 6 years (2003-2009) is 5.2% a year. An increase of 14.3 percent over six years (2009-2015) is 2.4% a year.
In other words, the numbers you posted demonstrate that the disabled rolls are growing at less than half the rate under Obama than they did under the last six years of the Bush administration.
This shouldn't come as a surprise. The Bush years included the Iraq war and the beginning of American involvement in Afghanistan, which together sent tens of thousands of severely disabled soldiers back to the USA where they joined the ranks of disabled beneficiaries.
That's like saying a newborn and an old man are the same; the old man is just the newborn over time.
But at least you seem to recognize that because climate is the time integral of weather, reasoning from a single data point (It's snowing in May!) is an obvious logical error. Langosta makes that mistake every time he posts about climate change.
You are a piece of work. On the one hand you complain (without any basis, I might add) that posters you don't agree with are ignoring "facts". But when Bloomberg and the CBO post facts YOU don't like, your reponse is a loud and smelly cyber-fart. If you want to run with the big dogs, you gotta stop acting like a weenie...
I tried posting this yesterday but the system just wouldn't let me, so I'll try again but with different words. Why is the middle class shrinking? If you look at the last 50 years, the answer is clear: the middle class is getting smaller because the upper class, defined as households with annual incomes over $100k, is getting much bigger. In other words, people are moving up. Upper class households tripled from 7% of the total households in 1963 to 22% in 2013. Great! But if you look just at the years since 2000, the trend has reversed, with poor households increasing and upper class households decreasing. The middle class has kept shrinking, but this time it's because people are moving down. So what will tomorrow look like? Your guess is as good as mine.
$50,000/person over 11 years (2014-2025) is less than $4500/year, a reasonable price for good insurance.
I suspect your beef is not with the price tag but with the idea that well-off people should subsidize the purchase of health insurance by less well off people. That's a perfectly respectable position but you shouldn't hide it behind a bogus claim of inflated costs.
Inequality is a complex topic and disucssions often get bogged down in semantic confusion. It's necessary to distinguish different kinds of inequality in order to have a meaningful conversation. For example:
--Merit-based income inequality ("pay for performance") is highly desirable and necessary in a healthy society. If you earn more than I do because you work harder and smarter than I do, that's a good thing.
--Income inequality is different from wealth inequality. I once worked for a billionaire whose income was $1/year. The companies he owned didn't pay dividends and he paid himself that $1.00 salary. But he was a billionaire. Which brings me to this question: if I'm being fairly and adequately paid, why should I care if Bill Gates is worth $100 Billion? Or that he can pass that wealth on to his kids?
--Discussing income inequality without discussing transfer payments is nearly pointless. To the income earned by a poor family you need to add the value of government-provided benefits. These include unemployment insurance, Social Security payments, EITC, food stamps, Medicaid, WIC, AFDC, and myriad other programs benefitting the less-well-off funded mostly (or entirely) by the well-off. Even with government-provided help, the poor are still poor but they aren't as desperately poor (for the most part) as a narrow focus on earned income would suggest.
--Inequality of opportunity is less discussed and in my opinion far more important than inequality of income or wealth. A child born to parents in the bottom third of the income distribution has about a 90% chance of staying there, even if his nominal income is higher than his father's. Taxing the rich simply to give money to the poor may help the poor avoid illness and starvation but it doesn't help them raise their children out of poverty. Reducing inequality of opportunity is difficult, expensive, and controversial but it is worth the effort.
According to you, there's no actual proof of the of human causation. So I have to ask: what would you accept as "proof"? A study of another planet that resembled earth in all respects except it doesn't burn fossil fuel?
In the case of cigarettes and cancer, we have never conducted a rigorous study because to do so would be both immoral and logistically impossible: "Here, kids, smoke two packs a day for 25 years and then let us biopsy your lungs. And you other kids, never touch tobacco for 25 and then we'll biopsy your lungs too." But do you really have any doubt that cigarette smoking causes cancer? And if you are willing to admit that cigarette smoking causes cancer, then you should admit that human activity causes global warming, because the evidence supporting that conclusion is as strong, if not stronger, than the evidence supporting the conclusoin that cigarette smoking causes cancer.
In our papers we demonstrate that none of these potentially troublesome effects unduly biased our
The historic temperature pattern we observed has abrupt dips that match the emissions of known explosive volcanic eruptions; the particulates from such events reflect sunlight, make for beautiful sunsets and cool the earth’s surface for a few years. There are small, rapid variations attributable to El Niño and other ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream; because of such oscillations, the “flattening” of the recent temperature rise that some people claim is not, in our view, statistically significant. What has caused the gradual but systematic rise of two and a half degrees? We tried fitting the shape to simple math functions (exponentials, polynomials), to solar activity and even to rising functions like world population. By far the best match was to the record of atmospheric carbon dioxide, measured from atmospheric samples and air trapped in polar ice.
Just as important, our record is long enough that we could search for the fingerprint of solar variability, based on the historical record of sunspots. That fingerprint is absent. Although the I.P.C.C. allowed for the possibility that variations in sunlight could have ended the “Little Ice Age,” a period of cooling from the 14th century to about 1850, our data argues strongly that the temperature rise of the past 250 years cannot be attributed to solar changes. This conclusion is, in retrospect, not too surprising; we’ve learned from satellite measurements that solar activity changes the brightness of the sun very little.
Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.
My total turnaround, in such a short time, is the result of careful and objective analysis by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which I founded with my daughter Elizabeth. Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.
These findings are stronger than those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group that defines the scientific and diplomatic consensus on global warming. In its 2007 report, the I.P.C.C. concluded only that most of the warming of the prior 50 years could be attributed to humans. It was possible, according to the I.P.C.C. consensus statement, that the warming before 1956 could be because of changes in solar activity, and that even a substantial part of the more recent warming could be natural.
Our Berkeley Earth approach used sophisticated statistical methods developed largely by our lead scientist, Robert Rohde, which allowed us to determine earth land temperature much further back in time. We carefully studied issues raised by skeptics: biases from urban heating (we duplicated our results using rural data alone), from data selection (prior groups selected fewer than 20 percent of the available temperature stations; we used virtually 100 percent), from poor station quality (we separately analyzed good stations and poor ones) and from human intervention and data adjustment (our work is completely automated and hands-off).
Richard Muller is not just any old reformed skeptic. He was the skeptic's skeptic, not a weatherman or an unscientific crackpot like Lord Moncton, but a scientist of the first rank who made his dissatisfaction with the research behind the IPCC reports abundantly clear. So when he reversed his views and concluded that the world was in fact warming just as the IPCC said it was and that human activity was causing the warming, it was very big news. His Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature research is a model of its kind and it leaves no doubt that human caused warming is real and serious.
Muller is also the author of a wonderful little book "Physics for Future Presidents" that I recommend to everyone, whether or not you are planning to run for President.
I tried posting this with a link to an excellent article over at the HuffPo, but the Net Nanny wouldn't let me. So I'll just suggest you look over there at an article entitled something like "The Sorry State of the Middle Class in 6 Charts."
What the article docxuments is a hollowing out of the middle class, especially expressed in terms of purchasing power. From the end of WW II to the late 70's, the share of national wealth head by the middle class roughly doubled. It's been declining ever since. You can probably pinpoint the start of the decline with the formation of OPEC and subsequent quadrupling of oil prices. But it has continued through both Reublican and Democratic administrations and Congrersses and shows no signs of ending any time soon. Meanwhile, the top1% of income earners have seen their incomes grow at an accelerating pace, to the point that wealh in the United States is more unequally distributed than it was just before the great crash of 1929. In part this change reflects the transformation of the American economy from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based economy. Servicce jobs are either very high paying (doctors, lawyers, investment bankers) or very low-paying (clerks, repairmen, secretaries, etc.). Not muich of a middle in between.
I don't think there are any villains here nor are there any easy solutions. But I see America changing in an unhealthy direction and wonder what we can do about. it.
On the contrary, it is perfectly clear that the current warming trend is not a natural phenomenon nor is it s measurement error. Those alternatives have been put forward repeatedly by people like you even after they have been thoroughly discredited. Your argument is a re-run of the tobacco company argument that scientists couldn't "prove" that smoking causes lung cancer. It might be genetics or environmental factors or diet or personal habits other than smoking or.....But in fact smoking causes lung cancer (and a host of other unpleasant conditions as well). And fossil fuel burning is causing the planet to warm whether you think so or or not. Your descendants will live with the consequences, something that obviously doesn't concern you.
and your point is?
Of course the earth has been hotter in the past (actually, much hotter if you go back a few hundred million years), But the question is whether the current warming is alarming. The vast majority of scientists who study climate change believe so When the earth was really hot and wet, there were no people around. Now there are 7+ billion of us, and we depend for our existence on a more or less stable climate. A much hotter world is a world with lower food production, more drought, more disease spread over a wider area, unlivable coast lines and resulting climate refugees, etc. That's what our future looks like if we continue on the current warming path. And the hotter the world gets, the worse those effects will be.
I grew up in Wisconsin so I am no stranger to cold winters but the late 70's in Chicago were Arctic in their intensity. I remember trying to walk less than a mile from the IC station to work one day in January '78 when the temperature was like -19 and the wind chill was about -80. In less than 5 minutes I suffered frostbite on every exposed piece of skin and if I hadn't been able to flag a taxi to drive me the last half-mile, I would have been severely injured.
By contrast, I spent the first part of New Year's Day 1979 mowing the lawn at my new California home! So we're both Chicago ex-pats: you went to Florida, I went to California.