It was little noticed, despite being nationals news, that the budget proposed by President Trump included a roughly $70 billion (with a “b”) cut in Social Security Disability Benefits over the next 10 years.
Disability benefits really matter here in Van Buren County. The county has one of the larger percent of the population drawing disability in the country, at 11.5 percent in the most recent numbers. That places Van Buren County in the top five percent nationally as percent of population drawing SSDI (as it’s called), over double the national 5.2 percent average.
Worse is the lack of alternative. Studies in the last 10 years or so have pointed out that disability claims go up as employment options leave. Van Buren County was actually pointed to as an example of this in a Bloomberg 2016 article. Manufacturing jobs have left the area, the sort of jobs people might be able to “muscle through” and people, options gone, have gone on disability.
It’s not just here. Van Buren County is on the southwestern side of what’s being called a “Disability belt,” running up into Missouri and east through the Appalachians into West Virginia. Such belts exist in other areas where light manufacturing had dried up in recent years.
And of course its time to point out that the general consensus is light manufacturing will never be what it once was as more and more robotics are used for repetitive tasks.
We try to keep it pretty positive here at this paper, a real “chin up” operation. After all, we have any number of people we interact with every day who are working, hard, to bring, keep and maintain opportunity in this region.
Still, this one has us worried. And it’s not like there’s an apparent solution. Disability money is at risk, and with it a number of households will be impacted.
Romans 8: 18-30 (NIV)
Present Suffering and Future Glory
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.