As you all know, I like Bill Maher. I think he is funny and he is right about a lot of politics. But I get very angry at him when he is egregiously wrong. This happened most recently during the presidential campaign. Goldie Taylor was on his show. She claimed that Obama would win 330 electoral votes. Maher claimed that this was an example of the “liberal media bubble.” But as I pointed out at the time, it was no such thing. When Taylor made the claim, there was a 21% change of Obama getting that many votes. And in the end, he got 335 votes.
Last week on his show, he discussed another conservative canard that for whatever reason he just accepts at face value: more people are on disability and we should be outraged. In his little brain, this is all about the Paul Ryan hammock: Americans are just getting more lazy. It goes right along with Maher’s libertarian inclinations. The problem is, it just isn’t true.
The Congressional Budget Office looked at this question last July. And they found there are three primary reasons why there are more people on disability. First, the workforce is older; older workers are more prone to career ending disabilities. Second, because most women work now, there is a larger percentage of the population that works; more workers causes more people on disability. Third, the Reagan administration changed the qualifications for disability to be more fair; more workers qualified for disability causes more people to be on disability.
This is not hard stuff to understand. What’s more, this isn’t news. A Google search of “rise disability rates cause” brought up that article above. So Maher is either just following his prejudices or he’s listening to conservatives with an ax to grind. Regardless, I really expect better of him.