Social Security Disability Reform: Obama vs. Romney Implications

September 4, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

We’re heading into the homestretch of election year 2012, and pundits on both sides of the aisle are contemplating what the big vote will mean for the future of social security disability here in North Carolina and elsewhere.

If the Obama-Biden ticket wins reelection, will that mean a relatively static outcome for the social security disability program and other government benefits programs? Or will team Obama take a different strategic approach in term two? Meanwhile, if the Romney-Ryan ticket wins, will they radically overhaul government programs based on Ryan’s budget and Ayn-Rand inspired capitalistic philosophy? Or will the Romney-Ryan team more or less perpetuate similar policies, despite the ideological differences they claim to have with the Obama campaign?

Missing the forest for the trees, perhaps?

It’s easy – especially during election season – to get ginned up about the implications of any one election (or one decision) for the North Carolina social security disability program. And it’s not like the political choices that we make (or do not make) as a country have no consequences for the program. But there are two hugely important points that pundits, policymakers, and would be Charlotte social security disability beneficiaries often fail to pay attention to when they contemplate the impassioned debates about government benefits:

1. It is exceptionally rare for any one moment or decision – in politics or in life – to have powerful long term consequences.

Social security disability is, in some sense, “its own animal.”

It’s evolving in its own way. The factors and elements involved are dynamic and diverse. No one “push on the wheel” in any direction – towards reform or towards expansion – will have profound long term effects. True big transitions in policy are often born of cumulative incremental effects.

Subtle forces build for months or years before any kind of breakthrough. For instance, consider that the concept of artistic “overnight success” – an unknown artist or writer “breaks through” and suddenly becomes the darling of Hollywood or of the book industry or whatever. Usually, when you look at the stories of individuals who become “overnight successes,” you will find that they have been laboring for years – possibly decades – in obscurity, honing their craft before breakthrough.

Likewise, changes in programs happen via the accumulation of incremental impacts, not via a single pull of a lever on Election Day.

2. It’s almost impossible to predict, in advance, how decisions will impact complex systems, like social security disability.

You might pull the lever for the Romney-Ryan ticket, in hopes that the Republicans will somehow constrain our government. But it’s really impossible to say whether your choice will have its intended results. Consider, for instance, what happened early in the summer, when a Republican appointee to the Supreme Court, John Roberts, “switched sides” from his ideological predilections to salvage “Obamacare.” Few Republicans had been expecting that one!

That point is that we all live in a somewhat chaotic environment, and we need help dealing with our issues, because the solutions are often very counterintuitive.

If you’re struggling with a benefits question, the team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you put you on the right track and keep you there.

 
 

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