Social Security Disability – Why America Is Behind

Nov 1, 2017 by

America is not the most generous country in the world when it comes to medical and retirement benefits. While it compares well to countries of lower income (at least generally, there are some exceptions even there), when compared to countries with a similar median income level, America is woefully behind.

Compare the American medical system to those found in France or Germany, for instance, and the results are dismaying. America spends more and gets less. Our system costs trillions more, and more per person and the outcomes are usually worse. The life expectancy in France and Germany is higher, the infant mortality rate is significantly better, just to name two easily cited points. At the same time, no one in those countries suffers from debts due to medicine.

While the obvious elephant in the room is nationalizing the health care system, even where America has done so, she is still lagging behind. Simply read about the problems at the VA to see how poorly America can run a bureaucracy.

Similar issues are found in retirement benefits. Here, too, Americans get less than their peers in Europe or Asia. Many Europeans retire earlier with much higher payouts from the government. That, combined with better and cheaper healthcare means their quality of life is significantly higher in their golden years. No wonder they live on average several years longer than Americans.

One area where America’s coverage is glaringly deficient is in long-term care for those on social security. While Medicare is happy to pay for treatment when someone has a heart attack, if that same person has a stroke and needs more than the immediate attention required, they are on their own.

The capriciousness and cruelty of this system can be seen in the statistics surrounding it. According to the Hankey Law Office, over 2,300,000 people applied for social security disability benefits in 2016, and the number who were accepted was a measly 740,000. That’s less than a third of all applicants. Take a moment to consider the fates of the other two-thirds who were rejected. For those who are older and now disabled, with no government assistance, their future is particularly bleak.

While these problems are well known and many brows fret over them, little has been done in recent years to fix these problems. Those solutions that have picked away at the problem—like Obamacare—have been unpopular and failed to create a coalition of support.

The main reason for this and the reason American politicians hate to discuss these issues is that it all comes down to one significant difference between America and other wealthy nations: taxes.

Americans hate taxes, and they demand they remain far lower here than in other countries. The top tax rate in America, for instance, is 39%. The top tax bracket in Europe usually hovers around 50%, and there are far fewer deductions available.

At some point, America will have to make a choice: whether it wants to take care of its citizens or get a bargain.

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