With sequester coming in less than a week, there’s a certain amount of sudden nervousness about it… among the DC/Beltway demographic (it’s never a real crisis until it affects the Imperial District, you see). So you can expect to see a few rhetorical Hail Mary plays being thrown, in the hope that one of them will resonate with the voting public… but, still. Is this really the best that the rabidly liberal Center for American Progress (CAP) could have done to scaremonger on the sequester?
The administration’s long reluctance to spell out the gruesome details “doesn’t entirely make sense to me,” said Scott Lilly, a budget expert at the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank. “I think Social Security will have to close a lot of offices. And the ones that make sense to close are the ones in the smallest communities. Which, by the way, happen to be predominantly Republican.”
While Social Security benefits are protected, Lilly said, “the White House would be advantaged to let people know that they’re going to have to drive 40 miles to put in their application or get information about their benefits.”
Bolding mine. Now, never mind that only an urban liberal who possibly doesn’t even own a car would think that ‘drive 40 miles’ is as much a pronouncement of DOOM as Scott Lilly apparently thinks that it is; it’s also kind of entertaining that Mr. Lilly apparently has never heard of this marvelous new thing called the “Internet.” You see, when it comes to Social Security, you can use the “Internet” to, say, put in an application:
Social Security offers an online retirement application that you can complete in as little as 15 minutes. It’s so easy. Better yet, you can apply from the comfort of your home or office at a time most convenient for you. There’s no need to drive to a local Social Security office or wait for an appointment with a Social Security representative.
In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you’re done. There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if any further information is needed.
…or get information about benefits:
The Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) helps you find out if you could get benefits that Social Security administers. Based on your answers to questions, this tool will list benefits for which you might be eligible and tell you more information about how to qualify and apply.
This should not be surprising, mind you: anyone with at least an average intelligence and a layman’s grasp of the way things are done in the modern world would have immediately grasped that government agencies would jump at the chance to put this information online. Filling out forms online can reduce the amount of time that people spend cooling their heels waiting in line at an office; and nobody actually wants those people to be wasting their time like that. But then, I said ‘average intelligence’ and ‘layman’s grasp;’ which generally excludes the typical worker drone at the Center for American Progress.
The sequester may or may not end up being as big a deal – or as small as one – as people expect. But groups like CAP need to up their demagogic game.
Moe Lane (crosspost)