Social Security and SSI:  Bloodsuckers “R” Us

MENCKENS GHOSTAnnual Social Security taxes per person are eight times higher in constant dollars than the maximum limit that the government promised would never be exceeded when President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act in 1935.
Liar, liar, pants on fire.

The lies about Social Security have never ceased.  For example, in 2001 the government projected that in 2009, it would collect 13.2 percent more in payroll taxes than needed to cover the costs of the program. The actual figure turned out to be 0.5 percent.

Shame, shame, pants aflame.

It’s a little-known fact that a major cause of skyrocketing Social Security spending is Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments for supposed disabilities.  SSI was added to Social Security in 1956. 

Between 1965 and 2009, the U.S. population grew by 54 percent. During the same period, the number of people receiving disability benefits increased by 458 percent.

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I must’ve been comatose during the 44 years this was happening, because I can’t remember any headline news stories in the brainless media on the subject, or any investigative reports on the thousands of Americans who rip off the SSI program (and other parts of the welfare/entitlement system), or any warnings that the USA was headed for bankruptcy due to such skyrocketing costs. 

One of the rip-off artists responsible for the skyrocketing costs was a psychology aide who worked for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.  He received $33,000 in fraudulent SSI payments for a feigned disability.  Instead of prosecuting and imprisoning him, the Social Security Administration (SSA) developed an interest-free repayment plan in which he had to reimburse the agency $20 per month.  At that rate, it will take over 130 years to repay the stolen loot.

SSI and SSA sound like abbreviations from the Third Reich.  Actually, they have more in common with the Marxism of the former Soviet Union:  From each according to his industriousness, and to each according to his bloodsucking. 

SSI is just the tip of a huge proboscis.  As I’ve detailed elsewhere, there are now more voters who engage in some sort of bloodsucking from the body politic than they are voters in the body politic who don’t engage in bloodsucking.  In other words, the bloodsuckers outnumber their hosts.

The judicial system appears to be on the side of the SSI bloodsuckers.  A recent story in the Wall Street Journal told about judges who hear appeals from people whose disability claims have been denied.  Some of the judges had been overruling more than 90 percent of the denials.  It just so happened that the judges had received campaign contributions from millionaire attorneys who specialize in SSI claims and represent supposedly disabled people in court. 

A great resource on Social Security is “Social Security Facts,” by James D. Agresti and Stephen F. Cardone.

It was the source of the story about the psychology aide.

In a section on SSI, the publication mentions a halfhearted investigation of SSI fraud by the Social Security Administration.  In comparing motor vehicle records in 12 states to its roster of SSI recipients in those states, SSA’s crackerjack investigators discovered that 62,000 individuals deemed eligible for SSI had obtained, or applied for, a commercial driver’s license.  Even Barney Fife could have figured out that they weren’t too disabled to work if they could drive a commercial vehicle.

The SSA didn’t follow up on these leads, but the Government Accountability Office selected a sample of 20 of the 62,000 people for further investigation.  To quote from “Social Security Facts,” here are a few of the findings:

One of the 20 received improper Social Security disability benefits while simultaneously working for the Social Security Administration as a legal secretary.

[Another] of the 20 received $108,000 in improper disability benefits while working as a security screener for the Transportation Safety Administration. As of 2010, the person was living in a house listed for sale at $1.8 million.  [Eligibility for SSI is based on income, not assets.]

Because disability payment levels are tied to lifetime earnings, 10 of the 20 received disability benefit increases as a result of receiving raises in the very jobs that made them ineligible for disability benefits. In one case, a U.S. postal worker received three separate benefit increases over four years due to raises he received on his postal service job.

As these findings suggest, government employees are experts at ripping off the system and knowing their “rights” under labor and equal opportunity laws.  And as seen recently in Wisconsin and Greece, they are the first to take to the streets when their hosts tire of being blood-sucked.  Drained of blood, the hosts are too exhausted to take to the streets against the bloodsuckers.

Average citizens can also be pretty good at ripping of the system and knowing their rights.  Take Anne, one of the many scam artists I’ve known.  On SSI for a supposed bum knee, the fifty-something ran a cash-only child care business out of her home.  An unused motorized wheelchair costing thousands of taxpayer dollars was collecting dust in her carport.  Her big and ugly daughter drove a big and ugly pick-up truck, which was new, expensive, and decked out with huge chrome wheels.  Knowing how to milk the system, the daughter had extorted her employer over a bogus sexual harassment claim and had received a big extortion payment.  The rotten apple didn’t fall far from the rotten tree.

People like Anne are easy to find.  They’re also easy to stop.  All the government would have to do is offer bounties to investigators to find evidence of fraud and then imprison those found guilty, or at least make them work off what they owe taxpayers.

Of course politicians on the left want to expand the welfare state, not police it.  They claim that the welfare state doesn’t have enough funding because taxes are not progressive enough--that the “rich” don’t pay their full share.  In fact, taxes are highly progressive, and so is the Social Security system.  For example, lower-paid workers can receive annual Social Security payouts totaling about 12 percent of what they’ve paid into the system, versus about 5 percent for higher paid workers.

Politicians on the right aren’t very anxious to police the welfare state, either, because they would be demonized by the media, and most of them would lose more votes than they would gain, because, as mentioned earlier, there are now more bloodsuckers than hosts in the Land of the Free Lunch and Home of the Bloodsucker.  In most congressional districts, it’s safer not to antagonize these huge bloodsucking interest groups.

Look at the bright side:  When enough blood is sucked out of you, you can claim a disability and file for SSI.

Mencken’s Ghost is the nom de plume of an Arizona writer who can be reached at