It’s such a warm, feel-good photo of McCarthy and Upton in the halls of their frat house, sorry Congress. Grinning and clutching like two little puppies playing in the back yard. And why not? They got some serious business done – negotiating with Obama himself over entitlements. These – the Social Security Disability Insurance in particular – will undergo “structural” reform and in exchange, there goes the Nation’s Debt Limit floating out the window and over the Potomac.

The structural reform at the SSDI is in place of a 20% reduction, and apparently will “strengthen” the now bankrupt fund that pays out insurance to anyone with a disability – regardless of income. In other words, there is no means testing as far as SSDI goes.

In fact, according to a study by the Cato Institute, disability insurance is handed out to many who would not fit the term “disabled” under any reasonable interpretation. Of course, tightening up the medical requirements – as opposed to the actuarial requirements which do insist you pay in to Social Security for a number of years to qualify – would be taken by opponents of entitlement reform and used to paint any reformer as a Dickensian Scrooge. Throwing people in wheelchairs out onto the sidewalk or stealing their walkers from out under their clutching hands.

It’s literally a nerve issue. And one that must be dealt with by stating clearly that disability insurance is a key support program. You have to say that over and over. And then begin to work up and lay out a plan to make sure the fund for SSDI becomes solvent again.

But political action needs to be seen to be done by voters themselves. Serious work that shows how money will be saved and/or better spent. And two congressmen engaged in horseplay in the halls of Congress just gives the impression of same old, same old. Especially when you consider that the “fixes” to Medicare premiums and deductibles – people paying less – will have to be funded. And the easiest way to do that is to add to the deficit. Again. Just a few more tens of billions this quarter. Or maybe a little more. And we swear, we are now in a perfect position to solve the Nation’s Finances. Especially with a free-floating debt limit drifting through the fall air …. somewhere over the Potomac.

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