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Florida Congressman Refers to SSA Disability Program as “Slavery”

Posted on Jul 31, 2012

U.S. House of Representatives congressman from Florida, Alan West, likened the current Social Security Administration disability program to slavery in a July 2012 television appearance on Fox News Sunday.

The Florida Republican’s remarks have caused a great deal of controversy. He reportedly said, “Since June of 2009 or so, we have seen a 2.4 million private-sector jobs created, but we’ve had 3.1 million people going on Social Security disability and, as we said just this past month, the 85,000 went on Social Security disability as opposed to 80,000 jobs created.”

Then West added, “So once again we are creating the sense of economic dependence which, to me, is a form of modern, 21st-century slavery.”

These statements landed West in the middle of a hotbed of controversy. This is not the first time he has used this type of language either.

A week before this television appearance, ABC News reports that West said that President Obama would rather have American voters “be his slave[s] and be economically dependent on him,” adding that, “Sitting at home and getting a check from the government is not going to help your self-esteem. What is will do is make you an economic slave to people living in a far, far, distant place.” 

Later in the week, West attempted to temper his remarks and address the controversy caused by his slavery remarks on his Facebook page. He claims there that, “Liberal media reports saying I am equating Social Security of hardworking Americans to a form of slavery is absolutely false . . . I was clearly talking about the number of people on Social Security disability—a completely separate issue . . . The facts are that we have had more people added to Social Security disability than jobs created, and that is appalling.”

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John L. Keefe
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