This is cited from the NC bar on April Fool's Day
In what has become an annual springtime tradition, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration Michael Astrue has announced a bold new initiative designed to both streamline the adjudication process and address concerns raised over the Agency’s fiscal health.
“We’ve tried e-deciding. We’ve tried iHearings. We even tried making all 64,000 Social Security Administration employees Administrative Law Judges. But, the time has come to admit that these bold initiatives have not reduced the disability backlog,” Astrue announced today. “Moreover, we have to admit that our friends in the Tea Party are right about the fiscal irresponsibility that has become the hallmark of a functioning government, in general, and the Social Security Administration, in particular. For far too long, this Agency has spent money the American people can ill afford. This is especially true now that the country is broke. The time for bold action is now.
“Many of you know that, a few years ago, I appointed a blue ribbon panel, called the Occupational Information Development Advisory Panel (OIDAP), to study ways in which we could improve the disability process. Although charged with the task of providing independent advice and recommendations on plans and activities to replace the Dictionary of Occupational Titles currently used in the Social Security Administration’s disability determination process, OIDAP instead spent the last year and a half studying the work of 18th Century French game theorists Francois and Louis Blanc.
“Based on the work of the Blanc brothers, OIDAP has recommended—and I am today announcing—that henceforth the disability adjudication model will be based upon the roulette wheel.”
“From this point on, there will be no need to engage in the time consuming, costly, and personnel-dependent disability adjudication model we’ve been engaged in in the past. Instead, we will simply have a giant wheel, with twenty alternating panels, white ones labeled “Scott” and red ones labeled “Hall.” We’ll give that sucker a big ol’ spin and where she stops decides the case: Scott for disabled; Hall for not. Think of the savings, both in time and money, that will be accomplished by this simple maneuver. No longer will we need the State agencies, medical records, e-files, vocational experts, doctors, lawyers, decision writers, judges, hearing offices, computers, security guards, rules, regulations, POMS, or any of that crap.”
When asked about due process and the right of appeal, Astrue responded, “Rest assured a claimant who lands on Hall will retain full appeal rights to the Appeals Council. At the Appeals Council, there will be another roulette wheel, with seven panels, one marked for each day of the week. We’ll give THAT wheel a big ol’ spin and where it stops will decide the appeal. But here is the interesting part: it won’t always be the same panels that decide the outcome. Some weeks, it will be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday that mean disabled. Some weeks, it’ll be Tuesday and Thursday. Still other weeks, it’ll be Saturday and Sunday. Every once in a while, just for the hell of it, it’ll just be one day. Or maybe even no day will mean disabled. No one will know what it is and that is the beauty of it. My staff and I will stick around and change the rules as we see fit, on a willy-nilly basis. I had originally hoped that, with the streamlined roulette wheel process, our jobs would become unnecessary, but then I realized 1.) my job is created by statute and must remain filled, and 2.) hey, it sure beats working!
“Now I know many of you are saying, ‘Mike, sure you’ve streamlined the process, but we don’t think you’ve gone far enough. Shouldn’t the disability adjudication process be a money maker for the U.S. government?’ Well, we’re way ahead of you. One of the exciting things OIDAP learned during its year and a half long study was that third parties can bet on the outcome of roulette wheel spins. I didn’t believe it until I looked it up on Wikipedia, but it’s true.
“Therefore, I am extremely pleased to announce that our disability adjudication roulette wheel spins will be done publicly, and we will allow the richest Americans—the ones who can afford to let disposable income ride on a completely arbitrary spin of the wheel—to place large wagers on the outcome. Think of it: say you’ve got a hedge fund manager, fresh from the bailout and flush with his well deserved bonus, he jets to Vegas, looking for sport; he places a bet, say, 10 Gs, that some poor schmuck is gonna come up Scott, but instead it comes up Hall. The schmuck doesn’t get disability, we’ve saved God knows how much in program costs, and good old Uncle Sam is all of a sudden 10 Gs the richer. Now, multiply that by the hundreds of thousands of disability applications that are filed each year and hundreds of thousands of dollars bet on each spin of the wheel, and you’ve got an absolute goldmine. I’ve really got to hand it to OIDAP—this is sheer genius. We’ll certainly generate enough revenue to continue to pay out Social Security benefits for years to come, AND we’ll be able to lower corporate taxes and continue to bomb countries through out the Arab world with impunity. We’re still going to have to cut Medicaid and Food Stamps, though.
“I am very excited to announce that we are in negotiations with a certain someone, a prominent stateswoman, to provide facilities for the roulette wheels through out the country. Due to the sensitive nature of the negotiations, I am not at liberty at present to say who, but I think I can reveal that the facilities will be called ‘Palin-domes.’ You know, like ‘Thunderdome?’ ‘Two men enter, one man leaves?’ God, I love that movie.”
Reached for comment, Nancy Shor, Executive Director of NOSSCR and former member of OIDAP, said, “I tried to explain to these asshats that they would not make money doing this, but I could not get them to understand that they would also have to pay off the winning bets, that they could not just collect on the losing bets. That’s one of the reasons I had to resign.” In response, Astrue said, “Let’s just say Nancy doesn’t appreciate the subtleties of roulette wheel construction the way that some of us do.”
When asked whether the Appeals Council roulette wheel would also be subject to public betting, Astrue remarked, “Of course not. We would not want to sully the appellate process with a cheap stunt like that. We can’t turn this thing into a circus. We’ve got to maintain some dignity.”
When asked for a comment, Durham attorney and former NOSSCR President Larry Wittenberg merely hung his head and wept.