Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Semi shorterized

First off, go read what Gavin done produced, if there's anyone who reads us here but not S,N!. He seems to be continually revising it, n it just keeps getting better. I had thought of doing such a post, but I got beat by a pro, at least. Maybe later, or an Ann Althouse visit.
In any case, there's 4* posts up worth a poke at, so let's get to it.

Festina lente: Apparently it's not a given that if you apply for diability benefits from Social Security you'll be granted them, and because of inefficiencies in the system some are left waiting for months or even years to get the benefits they need.

There's apparently a pretty standard procedure for applying for Social Security disability: you apply. They reject you. You appeal. Some unspecified period of time later, your appeals win, and you get to go on disability. This New York Times article has a pretty harrowing explanation of the process
The problem with this post is I've read it many more times than I should, and I still don't know what Megan actually thinks about disability coverage. She veers from feeling sorry for those caught in a tangle of red tape to talking about how Sweden gives out so much disability there have to be able bodied workers back to the plight of the truly needy. She gets very upset by the idea that someone who could work doesn't, as one would expect, but she also might just maybe get that disability is a good program, when it functions as intended.
But Megan leaves out a clear subtext of the article, which is that the program has suffered from underfunding in the Bush years, with many of the numbers you don't want to see go up, like cases stuck in appeal or some other limbo, doubling if not worse. To read her post, you'd think the need to prevent fraud is what's created the backlog. To read the NYTimes article, you'd think it's Bush not wanting to give the program the funds it needs to hire more judges to decide on cases.
A first step of raising the number of judges to 1,200 will require at least $100 million extra for the agency beyond the $9.6 billion that President Bush has proposed for the 2008 fiscal year, Mr. Astrue said. Within a wide-ranging, $151 billion health, education and labor bill passed in November, the Democratic-controlled Congress voted for a $275 million increase for the agency. But Mr. Bush vetoed the bill, calling it profligate.

If the stalemate continues, the government will probably operate on the basis of continuing resolutions, which will keep agency spending at last year’s level and doom the plan to add judges.
Yet Megan ends with this, speaking of Sweden's likely inclusion of those who could work;
Of course, if you think the government should support more people, this is a feature, not a bug. But even if you don't, it's hard to see what should be done about this. Discouraging malingerers this way also entails immense suffering for the truly needy, who lose houses and hope while waiting for the government to relent.
The problems in the system are because of people who aren't that depressed, who could go back to work if they'd just show a little backbone. Not, as the article says, a lack of funding to sufficiently staff the program, no. "Malingerers".

Live or recorded? If, like Megan, you agree with this description of concerts;
But the music sounds worse. It's too loud, or you can't hear it, or it's garbled, or mixed improperly, or the performer is having an off night, or...always something. If I want an "experience," I might go to a concert, but if I want to actually hear music, I'll put on a CD.
then I'm sorry, but you listen to shitty music, or only go to incredibly shitty venues. One of my basic tests of a band is whether they can pull it off live. Part of why I love Radiohead so is they often sound better live than in recording. I often end up preferring bootlegs of my favorites bands to their studio efforts.
And people who go to concerts for the energy and not the music are probably the people who talk at concerts, or should I say scream to each other. These people are scum.
Also, "mosh pit"? *giggle*

Give us your huddled masses...: There's a limited amount I can say here, having also gone to private school and then a name brand college, but this can't pass unremarked upon.
When I was at Penn, a friend who actually qualified as a proletarian, and whose proletarian consciousness would have been rated "Exceeds expectations" by the Comintern Membership Committee, indignantly informed me that almost half our class was the product of private schools.

"So?" I asked innocently.

"So those schools are less than 2% of the total American school system," he said. As far as I can tell, that disparity has only grown in the intervening years; thanks to unfavorable demographics, getting into college now is much more competitive than it was in my day. As long as you're drawing half your student body from schools that charge tens of thousands of dollars a year in tuition, playing with your financial aid package is the poverty-fighting equivalent of sending a complementary fruit basket to the local orphanage at Christmas.
Need I remind you, Megan's charity of choice is a school voucher program which provides too little aid for the poor kids it's supposed to benefit to participate. You have to also love that she presumes these rich kids have been trained to be "Harvard material", instead of having legacy ties and/or capacity to pay full tuition. I knew many people who went to Ivies, but I didn't know many who were qualified to.

*- Unless M or Clem beat me, I'll write about the Obama post later. Right now I gots things to do.

No comments: