For much of my life I’ve lived under the belief that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So whenever I run across a stat, headline, story or anything that meets that description I always make sure to properly investigate it. Let’s be honest, with the Internet and social media practically anyone can make most anything seem real, even if it isn’t. And, sadly, the Internet is quite known for perpetuating lies, myths and other pieces of false information.
But you would think if you’re a United States Senator that you would fact-check stats that spew forth from your mouth before saying them publicly. And while it’s true that some statistical information can be subjective, most of it isn’t.
So when Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) ignorantly spouted off about Americans abusing our disability programs, he really should have made sure he knew what the heck he was talking about because he was completely wrong.
“The thing is, all of these programs, there’s always somebody who’s deserving,” Paul said during a breakfast event on Wednesday. “But everybody in this room knows somebody who is gaming the system. Over half the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club. Who doesn’t get up a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts? Everybody over 40 has a little back pain.”
Politifact rated that statement as “False.”
Their investigation found that:
The numbers don’t add up. The two broader disability categories that include back pain (“diseases of the musculoskeletal system”) and anxiety disorders (“mental disorders – other”) don’t even equal close to 50 percent, let alone those two ailments by themselves.
So, not only was his statement completely wrong, but his numbers weren’t even close. Then the ignorance of his statement to essentially belittle people he’s never met is absolutely disgusting.
Now look, I’m not saying there isn’t abuse of our disability program. I’ve met quite a few people who know how to “play the system” to get benefits when they really don’t need them. But I’ve met far more who’ve desperately needed those benefits but had to jump through hoops and sometimes wait several years in order to get them – if they were even approved. I’ve met many people who can’t work because they simply cannot find jobs that will accommodate their disability, yet they “don’t qualify” for disability benefits because the government claims they’re healthy enough for employment.
Yeah, good luck being a low-skilled worker trying to get a job where you can’t sit or stand for long periods of time or can’t lift heavy items.
Paul tries to pretend that he’s more enlightened than other Republicans, but he’s not. He’s a coward and every bit the fear-mongering panderer to right-wing voters as the rest of them. The only difference is, every once in a while he tries to appeal to young and minority voters in a desperate attempt to “lure” them to his side hoping that might give him an edge in the 2016 presidential race.
But at the end of the day, Paul is just another clown performing in the circus known as the Republican party, and he’s proven he’s willing to lie and belittle Americans to get what he wants.
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