John Stossel: Too many Americans want to be victims
This turns some people into whiners with little sense of responsibility.
I had to overcome stuttering to work as a TV reporter. Had today's disability laws existed when I began work, would I have overcome my stuttering problem? Maybe not. I might have demanded my employer "accommodate" my disability by providing me a job that didn't demand being on-air.
Tad DeHaven of the Cato Institute writes that this is part of a disability-industrial complex: collusion between specialty law firms, doctors vouching for applicants with dubious claims and federal administrative law judges awarding benefits.
Despite improved medical care and the workforce's dramatic shift from physical to mental labor, the number of Americans claiming disability keeps growing. You start to feel like a sucker if you're not one of them.
Since the '80s, there has been a 300 percent increase in disability claims for hard-to-prove illnesses like back pain, stress and other "non-exertional restrictions." Over the past two decades, the number of people receiving Social Security disability benefits grew from 4 million to 11 million.
We all want to help the genuinely disabled, but a wide range of subjective ailments are affected by attitude. Labeling people victims, telling them they need help, teaches some to think like victims. Social scientists call that "learned helplessness."
Whether people have real physical ailments or just see the economic deck stacked against them, the most damaging thing to say to them is: Give up. You can't make it on your own. Wait for help.
We in the media keep an eye out for people who are victimized. Sometimes that's a valuable service. But it often means looking for victims when they really aren't there. This makes reporters feel like heroes — noble sentries protecting the powerless.
John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network, and the author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed."
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Pat Buchanan: In Scotland, it's economic man vs. tribal man - 0
- Another View -- Sharon Day: The Democrats' claim to be the party for women is just not believable - 54
- Deroy Murdock: Stuff the Obama lunch tax - 2
- David Harsanyi: The senators who really threaten America - 1
- Your Turn, NH -- Ted Menswar Jr.: How Manchester pulled together to honor one of its greats - 1
- Jonah Goldberg: Is the Islamic State really un-Islamic? - 3
- George Will: Scotland's epic vote - 1
- Charles Krauthammer: Obama's uncertain trumpet, again - 0
- Maureen McDonald: Ray Rice and the everyday problem of domestic violence - 1
READER COMMENTS: 0
- USNH's raw deal: Part deux - 0
- Every vote counts: Here is the proof - 0
- College Sports Roundup: NEC's Locke scores twice in soccer win - 0
- NHIAA Roundup: Campbell, Jutras blank Gilford - 0
- Pirates stay hot, blank Red Sox - 0
- Londonderry police to open station to residents - 0
- Man accused of raping 13-year old in Nashua - 1
- NHIAA Golf: Crusaders teeing up special year - 0
- New Nashua computer curriculum stresses exam, lifetime skills - 0
Alleged accomplice in brutal Bedford home invasion, attack on doctor and wife, says his testimony was coerced
Seabrook mom pleads not guilty by reason of insanity to attempted murder of her two children
Man accused of raping 13-year old in Nashua
Win tickets to see Demi Lovato
Another View -- Sharon Day: The Democrats' claim to be the party for women is just not believable
Another View -- Bill Duncan: What did the NH Supreme Court really say about private school funding?
Every vote counts: Here is the proof
USNH's raw deal: Part deux
Keene man charged with assault on 2-year-old
Labor fines proposed on school project