It's not helpful to minimize needs of the truly disabled.
Most of us can agree that 8 million people is too many to be receiving disability payments from the government. ("Dispiriting numbers," Oct. 28). To reduce this, columnist George Will urges us to vote for people who will lower the number, presumably by stopping the disability payments.
When explaining the problem, Will disparages the work ethic of those on disability, is cavalier about mental illness, and minimizes the effect of joint pain on the ability to work. Mental illness is real. Joint pain and other physical impairments are real. Injuries from accidents and from military action are real.
Many of these conditions are treatable, but they require expert help and money. To be sure, there are some who are capable and don't want to work. It's questionable whether stopping disability payments would cause many of them to become productive citizens.
The solution for instilling personal enterprise in more people involves a learning process that probably starts very young, and probably does not involve deprivation and punishment. We live in an environment that is increasingly complex, some of which is unhealthy and dangerous. We should vote for leaders who foster our interconnectedness and mutual support in order to reduce all reasons for disability payments.
FRED POLLMAN, EDEN PRAIRIE
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.