Bloomberg Business Week is out with a very interesting story on Social Security benefits. The authors have drawn a map that shows what parts of the country have the highest rates of people receiving disability benefits.
The map shows that those areas most affected by the loss of jobs due to trade with China and Mexico have the highest rates of disability beneficiaries. These areas include the Deep South, rural sections of Western states and, most especially, Appalachia.
Some academics studying this phenomenon have concluded that Social Security disability benefits have become another form of unemployment insurance. The idea is that the federal government, via Social Security disability, is guaranteeing displaced workers a certain amount of income each month until those workers reach retirement age.
This approach aligns nicely with those scholars who think the government should provide a basic living income. If the federal government did give people a guaranteed wage when their livelihoods disappear, it would take many people out of the Social Security system. It would also shore up Social Security's funding because the guaranteed income would likely require a different source of money than the Social Security trust fund.
The Bloomberg article gives you much to think about. It is well worth reading. If you would like to discuss this, or anything else, please let me know.