There were two odd stories in the news today.
The first, which won't be repeated much across the nation....came from the Wall Street Journal. Apparently, the Social Security Administration woke up and suddenly realized that a pharmaceutical company in Puerto Rico....had decided to shut down. It had three hundred employees affected. Of those to be let go.....290 decided to go and apply for disability via one doctor (yes, just one doctor would sign all of their paperwork). Curiously, the doctor didn't even live in the local area.....and was considered to be living at a distance that made this all kind of unbelievable (the Wall Street Journal didn't put the doctor's name down or his address).
So the Social Security Administration sat there and scratched it head over the tremendous odds of all 290 folks being truly disabled. I was actually thinking if this were true, then ten guys actually carried this pharmaceutical company for all these years while the disabled guys probably weren't up to the tasks. I'd actually like to meet the ten who didn't apply.
I went out and checked the numbers. Almost 54 million Americans are getting some type of social security. 8.4 million are on disability (15 percent) and they usually average $1,069.
I suspect that these 290 applications will be brought up to a doctor or two on the Social Security payroll, and then they will ask another internal team to view these guys and gals. Maybe at the end.....they might actually approve six of these, but it'll shock me if they approve more than thirty.
The disability side of social security? My suspicion is that most of the 8.4 million are actually disabled. Sadly....I do suspect that 500k of them probably pushed the limit....found the right doctor to vouch for them....and they simply burn through the money that we contributed. We ought to require these disabled to come back and re-verify their status every eighteen months.....with a totally different doctor. We ought to make the losers who aren't really disabled actually pay the money they got, back into the system. Some folks ought to go to prison. But we just don't have the guts to say that in public.
The second topic? The President's team came out and hinted that the $450-odd billion they need for stimulus junior (my humble title for their effort).....will come from all increased taxes. It kinda shocked most folks in DC.....I think even most democrats were kinda shocked.
So the hint is that taxes will be created to hit mostly against companies. They didn't say big capital, medium capital or small capital companies....but you get the feeling they meant mostly large companies.
I sat there and thought about this. So you create a stimulus package that is truly supposed to create confidence in creating jobs in America and stimulate the economy. Then you mention that the big guys who ought to create a major portion of these....have to pay more taxes....to make this happen. The odds now of any major company in America hiring ten thousand new employees with the new taxes coming? Zero. Confidence uplifting now? I have doubts that you find any measurable upswing on the confidence by March of 2012 with stimulus junior, if it were to pass by some miracle in complete form.
I worked years ago with a guy who had this idea for a new car engine. He wanted to take a six-cylinder car and allow it to run strictly off one-cylinder while it sat idle. As it took off, it'd slip on a second-cylinder and try to eventually get up to 20 mph....where cylinder three and four would then turn on and pick up the speed. The fifth and sixth cylinder would only come on if you need boost after fifty miles per hour. I looked at this idea and mentioned to him that just getting up to twenty mph would likely take a full minute with just two cylinders. Nobody was going to be agreeable with a full-minute waiting to hit twenty.
I kinda feel the same way with this stimulus junior package now.....it's a two-cylinder effort and come summer of 2012....most folks would be asking stupid questions about when the fireworks would be starting. So I'm thinking that this was all a farce in the first place and the President anticipates that the Republicans won't pass more than fifty percent of stimulus junior.
So as you sit there tonight and wonder how real jobs in America might be created....rest assured, the President is likely sitting on the patio of the White House....sipping a Bud Light, and likely wondering the same thing.