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BUDGET: Zarelli editorial fails readers

Letter by Brendan Haigh, Tacoma on April 12, 2012 at 1:13 pm with 11 Comments »
April 12, 2012 2:18 pm

The News Tribune’s recent editorial regarding the backlash from Sen. Joe Zarelli’s comments on state disability programs (MCS and HEN) appears to have missed the main issue.

Zarelli made a public appeal for the termination of these programs on the grounds that recipients are eligible as a result of life choices and substance abuse. This is untrue. The program rules preclude eligibility for individuals who are disabled primarily due to substance abuse.

Rather than expose Zarelli’s falsehoods, the TNT’s editorial board has decided to defend him as one of the “good guys in Olympia” who “understands state spending.” Unfortunately, Zarelli cannot be both of these things as he is misleading the public regarding the very programs that he is trying to cut, either intentionally or through ignorance. The TNT has failed its readers by giving him a pass.

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. cclngthr says:

    Zarelli assumes that people who are disabled are automatically drug addicts. While drug addiction is present in people with mental illnesses, particularly bipolar, PTSD and similar disorders, the disorder is present at birth (except for PTSD). PTSD is caused by tramatic experiences such as extreme abuse, mass shootings, effects of war, etc. Zarelli likely thinks PTSD is a made up disorder that doctors created because people are too weak to suck up the negativity of such trauma. Unfortunately, PTSD is a real issue that is common now because people are exposed to such tramatic events.

    It is misleading the public when we have editorials that promote the idea that families are ultimately responsible for the care and welfare of people with disabilities when these same families don’t want the person to exist and feel a disabled person is a burden on the family and society as a whole.

  2. Dave98373 says:

    I don’t agree with Zarelli on this point but, he is merely trying to reign in out of control government spending. Everybody wants to cut the budget…but no one wants to make any sacrifices. The recent budget issues are truly a battle of the haves and the have nots.

  3. cclngthr says:

    Dave98373,
    Where disabled people are concerned, either they are able to function, or they end up in jails, or dead. It is the latter 2 that most of them fall into.

    There are other ways to control the budget; namely require welfare to be only for people who are unable to work due to health (disabled people) and require non-disabled people to work. I also think the pension plans and state workers should be reduced, and be required to prove their worth.

  4. Dave98373 says:

    “Where disabled people are concerned, either they are able to function, or they end up in jails, or dead. It is the latter 2 that most of them fall into”

    Nice stereotype!…What a wonderful and compassionate person you must be—-NOT!…I would wager that you have never met anyone who has to endure the hardship of being disabled.

  5. LornaDoone says:

    If Zarelli wan’t to “reign in state spending” have him start by cutting the wages of elected officials by 50% and having them pay when special sessions are held.

    When I see Zarelli compromise, I might.

    Dave, you might want to wipe the fecal matter from your face. The person you are taunting has mentioned his disability many times. I can’t wait to see you change direction on this one.

  6. cclngthr says:

    Dave98373,

    “Nice stereotype!…What a wonderful and compassionate person you must be—-NOT!…I would wager that you have never met anyone who has to endure the hardship of being disabled.”

    I suppose you think Cerebral Palsy is not a disability. I happen to have it, and it is severe enough to require the use of crutches and a wheelchair.

    I also have worked with disabled kids, and see them being shunned and bullied to the point that they do end up in jails or end up dead.

    Tyler Long, who has Aspergers Syndrome, a form of high functioning autism, and is a subject of the movie Bully, is dead because of what he went through by people like you who prefer that he not exist.

  7. cclngthr says:

    LornaDoone,

    As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think Zarelli should get his “disability” benefit because he earns over the Sustained Gainful Activity standard set by the federal government. That amount currently is $1010 (gross wages, not net wages) per month. If wages earned through any work activity is over that amount, the benefit is stopped immediately.

    I don’t think elected officials should get anything. That office should be volunteer only. Most have regular jobs on top of that elected office. They are essentially double-dipping where wages are concerned.

  8. “As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think Zarelli should get his “disability” benefit because he earns over the Sustained Gainful Activity standard set by the federal government. That amount currently is $1010 (gross wages, not net wages) per month. If wages earned through any work activity is over that amount, the benefit is stopped immediately.”

    Do you feel the same way for all disabled folks collecting money or just Zarell?

  9. cclngthr says:

    pawl,

    I would feel any person who earns over the SGA standard, their benefit should be cut off immediately. That SGA determines the persons ability to work.

    If I earned over the SGA amount, I would be cut off and be required to pay back the benefits. I think all persons collecting the benefits should be required to be held to that standard. As I see it, Zarelli is allowed to earn, not only through the senate wages, but regular wages he earns is over that $1010 a month limit the federal government set. He should be held to the same standard as everyone else is.

    If the federal government felt a disabled person is able to work and should be allowed to collect state and federal benefits based on a disability, and work at the same time, the SGA standard would not be in place. Currently, the government sets a monthly income level to determine if a person has a disability that impairs their daily living activities. Theoretically, you can have a disability that does impair your daily living activities; but according to the government, you will be considered non-disabled if you earn over $1010 a month.

    One problem with this is if the disability is severe enough that requires ongoing medical care (such as CP often does) obtaining medical insurance at an affordable rate that actually covers the condition is impossible through work insurance plans. Here, you often have a condition that actually PREVENTS you from working thus according to an employers and ADA point of view, you are too disabled to work, but not disabled according to the government because you earn too much.

    ADA allows you to have certain “reasonable” accomodations. However ADA also can determine you are unable to work based on your disability. However, the government, as I said earlier considers you NOT disabled due to your past earnings.

    Zarelli clearly is able to work, and proves that because he not only continues to physically and mentally focus on his work (he would be considered non-disabled according to ADA standard) and also the earned income he has is over the SGA, which according to the federal government, he also would be considered non-disabled due to his income.

  10. rockers1 says:

    Being a disable veteran myself I understanding the disability system provided by the VA. Any veteran should be enttitled to the benefits if they deserve it. But, I think that the Senator should understand that people need and deserve a helping hand. Over the last 3 or 4 years he has help to dismantle the Disabilty Life Line Program. The Disability Life Line cash program ended in October of 2011. The program was designed to help the physically or mentally disable. There is a segment of legislators who want to balance the budget on the backs of the poor while drawing benefits themselves!. Please check out my blog on my website: http://www.dixonmcreynolds.com

  11. cclngthr says:

    rockers1,
    One problem I have with Zarelli’s ideals is why does he deserve the benefit when he is able to earn more than the SGA? If a person is able to work and earn over the SGA, I don’t think they deserve the disability benefit. If a person is unable to work, then I would see the point of the person getting the benefit.

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