Barack Obama – Searching his Website for CHANGE: The Disabilties Issue (Part 2 of 28)

Barack Obama discusses the Disablities issue.

In part two of the Barack Obama Website Series, I’ll take a closer look at Barack Obama’s website http://barackobama.com/, looking for specifics on how exactly he proposes to CHANGE the lives of those with disabilities. The “Disabilities” web page states that “Obamas [sic] comprehensive agenda to empower individuals with disabilities fits in with the campaign’s overarching message of equalizing opportunities for all Americans.” Personally, I’d substitute the word “overreaching” for the word “overarching,” since he cannot possibly accomplish all that he has set out to do from the Executive Branch and many of his plans impinge upon the rights of individual states, companies and even other countries of the world. It’s big government at its worst but hey, what do I know? … I was educated in the public school system that he seems to believe needs so much CHANGE.  

I intended to post part two of the Obama website series days ago but I got too bogged down in the minutia of everything contained in the “Disabilities” section of his website. In the interests of being more concise, I have skipped the mundane and have concentrated on the meat.

The Problem:

The following quote describes the Disabilities problem, according to Barack Obama:

“In 2006, working-age Americans with disabilities were almost three times more likely to live below the poverty line than those without disabilities. While the average annual household income of individuals in the United States without disabilities was $65,400 in 2006, the average annual household income for people with disabilities was $36,300. And the employment rate for persons with disabilities in 2006 was at least 40 points lower than the employment rate of working-age individuals without disabilities. These dismal statistics offer evidence of severe shortcomings in our country’s efforts to break down the barriers that exclude people with disabilities and deprive them of true equality of opportunity and independence.” 

[I agree 100% with the notion that people with disabilities should be given every opportunity that is practical to enable them to acquire gainful employment. I really don’t think there are a whole lot of people who would disagree with that. My problem is with the numbers that Barack Obama uses here. The funny thing about statistics is that they can be easily manipulated to prove practically any point one wants to make. These numbers automatically lump individuals with severe mental retardation and other incapacitating disabilities in with other disabled individuals who have been able to find success in the workplace. By doing this, he is able to lower the average household income and increase this group’s unemployment statistics. This exaggeration of the problem (a tactic Barack Obama presumably learned from Al Gore) is an attempt to convince us that all handicapped individuals have little chance of making it in this country.]

The Solution:

Barack Obama’s “Plan To Empower Americans With Disabilities” has four parts, “designed to provide lifelong support and resources to Americans with disabilities.” I will tackle each section, one at a time:  

Provide Americans With Disabilities With The Educational Opportunities They Need In Order To Succeed:

Fully Funding the Individuals with Disabilities Act: Obama takes a well-deserved shot at Congress by admonishing them for not shouldering 40% of each state’s “excess cost” of educating children with disabilities, as was promised in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). He plans to “enforce” the stipulations of IDEA in addition to making sure that the federal government lives up to its end of the agreement. [Personally, there are other programs that I would also like to see funded as promised by the federal government. One small one that comes to mind is Social Security.]

Early Intervention for Children with Disabilities/Universal Screening of All Infants and Two-Year-Olds: Barack Obama believes that the federal government needs to step in and ensure that all states are performing the American College of Medical Genetics’ full recommended panel of 29 tests for possible disorders for each and every infant born in this country. [Here, we see one of the first signs of a theme that runs rampant throughout “Doctor” Obama’s plan for the country; that is, having Big Government step in, further diluting each state’s Constitutional rights to govern themselves.]

Additionally, Obama contends that many of these conditions can be treated before they become permanent and goes even further by suggesting a “national goal” of retesting every two-year as well. [A “national goal” is an admirable thing. It reminds me of my “personal goal” … to win the lottery!]

Next, Barack Obama says he will invest $10 billion in early intervention educational and developmental programs for children up to five years of age. [Thank God he isn’t asking the American people to invest the $10 billion for the early intervention educational and developmental programs. I don’t know where it would come from. Frankly, I didn’t know Barack had that kind of money!]

Improve College Opportunities for High School Graduates with Disabilities: Barack Obama states that students with disabilities are less likely to attend and/or complete college than their peers without disabilities. [Again, one must factor out the children who are mentally and/or physically unable to even go to school if this statistic (again, not cited) is to be used.

He goes on to state that those students with disabilities that do graduate enter the workplace at the same level as their classmates without disabilities. {I’m not exactly sure what the term “same level” means, but I’ll assume that he is saying that their pay is equal. If this is the case, then it seems to suggest that there is indeed, no discrimination in the workplace against individuals with handicaps.]

Obama’s plan to make college more accessible is to make college more affordable for all students who wish to attend by having the federal government pay for the first $4,000 of most students’ college tuition and to subsidize two-thirds of the cost of tuition at “the average public college or university.” [Please notice that this is in the form of fully refundable tax credits. Also note that this program is to be available to not just students with disabilities, but to most students. It does not say who will be excluded from this program, nor does it state how we will cover the shortfall in taxes collected in an already deficit-ridden federal budget.] 

End Discrimination And Promote Equal Opportunity

Restoring the Americans with Disabilities Act: Barack Obama admonishes the U.S. Supreme Court for restricting the Americans with Disabilities Act by way of decisions that they have made that “narrowly define” what it means to have a disability. Because of those decisions, he claims that lower courts are further narrowing the scope of what defines a disability. [Barack Obama, as usual, does not cite the cases which have caused him to make this outrageous claim against The Supreme Court of the United States of America. Never fear, I have taken the time to look up the cases. In one, two myopic sisters sued over the right to fly commercial airlines. In the other two cases, truck drivers sued their companies claiming that they lost their jobs because of disabilities (one was essentially blind in one eye and the other had a heart condition). In each case, the Supreme Court ruled that the individuals did not have a “disability” as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Act defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that “substantially limits” one or more “major life activities.” The U.S. Supreme Court found that the truck driver with the heart condition could take medication to correct his condition and therefore could not sue under “The Act,” the myopic sisters could wear protective lenses to correct their “disability” as well and the monocular driver could still see and was not substantially limited in one or more of life’s activities because of it.  It is not the Supreme Court’s fault that the legislators did not do a better job of defining what a disability is. You may view each of these cases at Sutton v. United Air Lines, Murphy v. United Parcel Service and Albertsons v. Kirkingburg].

Appointing Judges and Justices Who Respect Laws Designed to Protect People with Disabilities: Here, Barack Obama says he will “appoint judges and justices who respect Congress’ role as a co-equal, democratically elected branch of government and who exhibit empathy with what it means to be an American with a disability.” [There are two things wrong with this statement. The obvious one is that U.S. Presidents do not appoint Supreme Court Justices – they can only nominate them – it is the U.S. Senate that confirms the nomination that leads to their “appointment.” I’ll let that slide, however, since Barack Obama has spent so little time actually doing the job he was elected to do, he may have forgotten the role of the Senate. The second problem I have with this statement reflects back to Part 1 of the Barack Obama website series, where he accuses George W. Bush of the “politicization” of the Department of Justice. Isn’t this “the pot calling the kettle black?” Oops, poor choice of words. I’m sure the Obama camp will say that I just made a racist remark against the kettle!]

Require Insurance Coverage by Medical Insurers: Barack Obama states that he will “require coverage for serious mental illnesses to be provided on the same terms and conditions as are applicable to other illnesses and diseases. [Here we go again! Now Barack Obama intends to step on individual health insurance providers’ rights to offer the kind of health care coverage that they want to under their company plans. This means that those companies who are not providing what Obama deems to be adequate mental health care coverage, will have to add it to their benefit programs. Do you think this will necessitate a higher price for the insurance that they offer? Count on it!] UPDATE: As proof that Obama will indeed, be the candidate of CHANGE, this part of the Disabilities Plan has mysteriously disappeared from his website. Perhaps he lost some campaign funding provided by the healthcare industry as a result of this policy.

Guaranteeing Health Care Coverage: According to Barack Obama, “many people do not seek work or leave the workplace because they need the guaranteed health insurance that the federal government benefit programs provides.” Under this part of his plan, Obama will ensure that the federal government make available subsidies to pay for coverage for Americans with disabilities “who cannot afford [insurance].” He also will prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based upon pre-existing conditions. [This will undoubtedly drive up the cost for insurance plans for all Americans, who will have to subsidize the increased medical costs of those with pre-existing conditions. This is a truly shocking part of Obama’s plan, considering the already skyrocketing cost of health insurance!]

Increasing Employment Rate Of Workers With Disabilities

A great deal of this section has nothing to do with disabilities and is stated in the “Family” section of Barack Obama’s website. [This will be discussed in Section 9 of the Barack Obama Website Series … coming soon to a computer near you.] After plodding through the mundane, the salient issues that Barack Obama plans to CHANGE with respect to increasing employment for those with disabilities follow the same “big government will save you” theme that is becoming redundant.

Increase Executive Branch Hiring of Workers with Disabilities: Barack Obama says he will re-instate an Executive Order passed by Bill Clinton that mandates the hiring of 100,000 federal employees with disabilities in the form of affirmative action [the Democratic Party’s euphemism for quotas]. [There is no mention of who (if anybody) repealed this Executive Order. Nor does it state if these will be 100,000 new jobs or if there will be 100,000 experienced, non-disabled federal employees that will lose their jobs, whether they are more qualified or not].

Supporting Small Business Owned by People with Disabilities: Barack Obama says that he will direct the Small Business Administration to amend their regulations under The Small Business Act to give preferential treatment in the awarding of government contracts to business owners who have disabilities. [Once again, Barack Obama has decided that the United States President is a dictator and that he will have powers that are not provided under the U.S. Constitution. I must also point out that there may be a few members of the Small Business Administration who would balk at the idea of losing their equal rights to government contracts.]

Establishing a National Commission on People with Disabilities, Employment and Social Security: Barack Obama hopes to create a new governmental commission that will include “Presidential appointees, Congressional appointees and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration and the Secretaries of Labor and Health & Human Services as ex officio members.” [You have to give Barack Obama a lot of credit here; if the President of the United States were able to create such a commission without the approval and funding of the legislative branches, it would be an excellent way of ensuring that some of the people that helped fund his Presidential run, got high-paying jobs, courtesy of the American taxpayers. Are you listening, Bill Ayers?]

Supporting Independent, Community-Based Living for Americans with Disabilities

Before tackling this segment, perhaps it is best to define what is meant by “community-based living.” The Virginia Community Based Services Division does an adequate job of defining their mission by stating their goal is to “respectfully [create] real life solutions that maximize the employment, independence and full inclusion of people with severe disabilities.”

I, personally, doubt that anyone is against letting any disabled individual try to integrate as normally into society as possible. Community-based living facilities are a more expensive alternative to the state institutions that many disabled individuals are required to rely upon, due to a shortage of these community-based facilities.

There is very little in this part of Barack Obama’s Disabilities Plan that would get any argument on the principle of the need for more of these facilities and their benefit to those with disabilities. The only issue here is whether states would be paying for these facilities or the federal government. As far as the average taxpayer is concerned, there is no difference; one way or other, it’s coming out of their pockets.

The only twist that Obama slips in here is that he wants to set up a voluntary program that will deduct $30 from each person’s paycheck to go to a program that will help pay for long term care of disabled persons. Those who have contributed for at least five years would then, themselves, be able to receive benefits should they ever need them.

[For a change, I have very little to say in this regard except to add that similar promises were made regarding our Social Security payments. It is more than likely that many will see little if any benefits from the vast sums that the federal government has stolen from the American people for the bankrupt Social Security system. What would give any rational human being any reason to believe that the federal government wouldn’t squander the money contributed to this program as well? It should also be pointed out that, due to the wording of the proposed $30 per paycheck plan, those who are paid bi-monthly would be paying less for this program than those who receive weekly paychecks. Of course this is “voluntary” and I am a little skeptical as to how many Americans would “volunteer” to give up as much as $1,560 a year to the program. The contributions would more than negate the tax cuts outlined in Barack Obama’s Economic Plan.

All in all, the Disabilities Plan on the Barack Obama website offers very little hope for those with disabilities. All of the goals are admirable but will surely resort in unending debates and litigation as to whether these are state or federal government issues. It does, however, offer a great deal of insight on the true Barack Obama. One can easily see why he has been labeled as the most liberal Senator in Washington and that he is not even close to being the bipartisan leader that he claims he will be. Big Government, more taxes and more entitlements; where is the CHANGE? He couldn’t toe the Democratic Party line more if it was glued to his shoes!

After part two of the twenty-eight part series on Barack Obama’s website, I feel the need, once again, to promise that I will make the next review more concise. Really, can it be that hard? Let’s see what we will be reviewing next … the Economy! (Oh, crap!)

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2 Responses to Barack Obama – Searching his Website for CHANGE: The Disabilties Issue (Part 2 of 28)

  1. Allen Taylor says:

    Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

  2. scottymck says:

    Thanks for the kind words Allen.

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