Between 1776 and the early 1950s, Americans built a great nation without a single person collecting a single dime of federal disability benefits.
But what has happened to America since Eisenhower signed his law? We have become a disabled nation. The total number of U.S. disability beneficiaries now exceeds the total population of Greece.
As of this April, according to the Social Security Administration, the disability program was paying benefits to 10,962,532 individuals. That included a record 8,865,586 disabled workers, 1,936,236 children of disabled workers and 160,710 spouses of disabled workers.
Those 10,962,532 Americans taking disability benefits outnumber the entire population of Greece (10,815,197, according to that nation's latest census) by 147,335.
What exactly has forced all these Americans to stop working and start taking checks from the government? Well, the largest categories were those with bad backs, bad ligaments and bad moods. Of the 8,575,544 "workers" in 2011 collecting disability, 2,488,374 -- or 29 percent -- did not work because of problems with their "musculoskeletal system and connective tissue." Another 1,304,851 -- or 15.2 percent -- did not work because they had a "mood disorder."
Over the past four and a half decades, the ratio of full-time workers to disabled workers has dramatically declined. In January 1968, there were 64,640,000 full-time workers and 1,202,115 workers taking disability -- a ratio of 54 to 1. In January 2013, there were 115,918,000 full-time workers and 8,830,026 workers taking disability -- a ratio of 13 to 1.
The declining ratio of full-time workers to disabled worker is evidence of a dramatic cultural change. America's work ethic has been replaced by the dependency ethic compounded by the disability ethic.
How much lower can the ratio of full-time workers to disabled workers go? Eventually, even the strongest of backs and hardiest of hearts must buckle and break beneath the ever-expanding burden of the redistributionist state.