It’s the workplace safety, stupid!

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Matt Yglesias is doing yeoman’s work on the 2005 Social Security report over at TAPPED today. Go read everything, though I want to highlight real quick this post, where he finds the Trustees’ projecting that men will work less in the future. The report explains this assumption by arguing, in part, that fewer men will get married—and hey, maybe unmarried men are lazier after all—but also because of “higher assumed disability prevalence rates.”

Well crikey. This is yet another trend that, if true, can very easily be ameliorated by better policies. It’s no secret that the Bush administration has gutted workplace safety protections over the past four years. Yet the Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that in 2003 there were 4,365,200 non fatal injuries and illnesses in the United States. Disability insurance covers the severest of these injuries, and that money comes out of the Social Security Trust Fund (that’s what the “DI” stands for in OASDI, after all). And a good number of those injuries and illnesses could have been prevented by better workplace protections. Hopefully it’s obvious where I’m going with this…

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