Eberstadt points out that in 1960, only one-fifth of disability benefits went to those with “mood disorders”= and =“musculoskeletal” problems. In 2011, nearly half of those on disability voiced such complaints.
“It is exceptionally difficult — for all practical purposes, impossible,” writes Eberstadt, “for a medical professional to disprove a patient’s claim that he or she is suffering from sad feelings or back pain.”
In other words, many people are gaming or defrauding the system. This includes not only disability recipients but health-care professionals, lawyers, and others who run ads promising to get you disability benefits.
Between 1996 and 2011, the private sector generated 8.8 million new jobs, and 4.1 million people entered the disability rolls.
The ratio of disability cases to new jobs has been even worse during the sluggish recovery from the 2007–09 recession. Between January 2010 and December 2011, there were 1,730,000 new jobs and 790,000 new people collecting disability.
Talking about this is futile. Americans have chosen decline. The more America declines, the more Americans will support declinist policies like expanded disability benefits.