Public Comment

New: President Obama's Victory and How It Helps Persons with Mental Illness

By Jack Bragen
Monday November 12, 2012 - 10:40:00 AM

The main reason why right-minded people dislike the Republicans is probably that Republicans are mean. Republicans don't care if other people who are not in the rich mean people's club experience suffering. Republicans don't care about helping their fellow human being unless there is something in it for them. They are willing to amass huge piles of wealth while others nearby are starving. They go to church every Sunday and get forgiven because they need to get some relief from the ever-present guilt of being nasty people. 

Of course there are exceptions to this. My sister is a Republican, and the family doesn't know what happened, but she's not a mean person. 

Mitt Romney, had he been elected, would have severely slashed or eliminated my Social Security check. Not only that, I could probably count on him slashing or eliminating my HUD rent subsidy. I would need to work full-time at a job with full medical benefits and with a decent wage in order to survive, something I haven't been able to do, except when I was in my early twenties. This is assuming I could even get employment, which is doubtful in this economy and with not being hireable due to obviously being mentally ill (the information is all over Google). 

If Romney had been elected, I would have had no means of support and no housing. This is beside the fact that Romney wanted to transfer Medicare to the states. California doesn't have money to pay for my Medicare, so I wouldn't get any-the ball would be dropped. Had Romney been elected, I might be vying for a begging spot on the nearest freeway off ramp. 

Because of the remaining republicans in Congress, we now have this "fiscal cliff," in which President Obama may be powerless over cuts that will automatically happen to programs for the poor and disabled. Yet, if President Obama wanted to veto any legislation, he would be able to do that without much chance of it being overridden. (Of course, the President's veto power is not applicable to the fiscal cliff, since it is part of a law that was already passed.) The Republicans in the House, if they want any cooperation from the President, should concede that they are in a position of less power and should be more flexible. 

At least President Obama tries to do the right thing. He hasn't been an enormously bold President, but that could be a good thing-sometimes a gentle touch is more effective. In his second term, President Obama may have tremendous opportunities to help disabled people. 

Obama's medical plan makes it possible for disabled people to become upwardly mobile. As it currently stands, disabled people, if they try to work, lose not only some of their cash disability benefits but can lose medical benefits. If a person with mental illness would like to work instead of receiving SSI, they must have a way to pay for their medication. In the positions where a person with mental illness can typically get hired, the employer doesn't pay for medical or dental. This means that we can only work a very limited amount. Hopefully, President Obama's medical plan will change that. It will make it possible for a person with mental illness to work their way up. 

One of the ways that President Obama can help persons with disabilities is to increase work incentives under Social Security. This can be done even if he is forced to cut entitlements. 

Cuts under Romney would have been devastatingly more severe and would have caused millions of disabled people who can't work to be homeless. Republicans don't care about the poor, or about anyone but themselves and their rich Republican buddies. 

Cuts to entitlements should not happen in the absence of increasing work incentives. Otherwise you are forcing a group of people into a corner and leaving them with no means of survival.