Rep Allen West Refers to Social Security as "Modern-Day Slavery"

Submitted by Shane on

Representative Allen West has been known to say some outlandish things in the past, but his most recent comment that has left millions reeling with awe has to do with Social Security Disability benefits. According to West, it appears that Social Security Disability is a form of “slavery”. Why is it a form of slavery according to West? Because it creates economic dependence on the government.

Now what in the world does being economically dependent upon the government for disability benefits have anything to do with slavery? The truth is, and something that you probably didn’t learn in school, that back in the days of slavery slaves were given a small payment for their work in order to help them escape the clutches of poverty. These slaves were dependent upon these payments economically. Apparently West thinks that disability payments are just like these small stipends the slaves received.

Now, anyone with any common sense can see that Social Security Disability benefits have nothing to do with slavery and everything to do with assisting disabled people in alleviating the financial stress that a disability can cause. Disability recipients receive their monthly benefit payments because they are unable to perform any type of work whatsoever.

If we want to compare anything in our modern world to slavery, let’s look at corporate America and the capitalist society. People work 9 to 5, sometimes even longer, and sometimes at minimum wage which keeps them below the poverty level. They depend on the paychecks from their employers to make ends meet (and some still need financial assistance from the government just to meet basic living expenses). Isn’t that closer to slavery than a disability recipient who spent years paying into the Social Security system receiving the benefits that he or she has paid for because they are now no longer able to work due to an unexpected disability that has befallen them? I would say so.

I think that Rep Allen West is confused. Those who receive disability benefits are not slaves any more than those who receive a structured settlement from an insurance company are slaves. Social Security is a program that tax payers have paid into in order to protect themselves from financial devastation should a disability arise. To say that these individuals are slaves because they rely on the government for economic assistance is ignorant. These individuals do not toil away day in and day out for a meager stipend. They are collecting insurance benefits – benefits they have paid for – from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

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