We are afflicted as a nation with terrible risks. Despite OSHA, despite workplace education, Americans are becoming disabled.
The Social Security Administration has released the grim statistics: over 8.7 million Americans are disabled. That is one out of 16 working Americans.
In 1967, this figure was one out of 65.
This increase tells us either that federal safety programs, though increasing the costs of doing business, have been a total failure, or else that free money from the government creates disabled people. Or maybe it is a combination of both.
The free market responds. If the government pays people who are disabled, it pays for people to become disabled. We have seen this before. If the government pays to eliminate rodents, and proof of elimination to to bring in a pair of rodent ears, entrepreneurs will breed rodents, kill them, and cut off their ears. The government pays people to kill rodents, and that is what people do. Bureaucrats may say, “This is not what we had in mind.” It does not matter what they had in mind. What matters is the system of rewards.
When the government announces, “You will never have to go to work again if you are disabled,” entrepreneurs hear this loud and clear.
You may be thinking, “This guy is heartless. Why, he is comparing crooks who cheat the government with people who are suffering disabilities.” Yes, I am.
You may think that I am being unfair. You may think that I am exaggerating. To deal with your skepticism, I tested my theory. (Never say I am not a true scientist.) I did a Google search for these words: ears government bounty. At the top of the list is a page from the Social Security Administration. The page says Social Security Disability Help. We read: “Answer the following questions for a free disability evaluation: ” The second link on the list is an ad from a law firm that helps people enroll in the Social Security disability program. As humorist Dave Barry used to say, “I am not making this up.”
If you increase demand for anything by rewarding the results of something to be avoided, the result will be an increase of the thing to be avoided. This is basic to price theory. It’s all about supply and demand.
If you want more disability, just get the government to pay for it.