The Post asked readers to craft plans for putting the federal government on a path to fiscal health. Submit yours in 250 words or fewer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My son Dan is 17 and has epilepsy. Here are five ways that hiring Dan can help reduce the budget deficit.
1. You can both cut and protect Medicare and Social Security. Right now, 13.6 million Americans like Dan draw $172 billion from Social Security and $150 billion from Medicare or Medicaid. If they were added to the officially unemployed, we would call this the Greatest Depression, not the Great Recession. If you hire Dan, he will not find himself on these programs.
2. Do you favor new revenue? Dan will be contributing the moment you employ him.
3. Do you favor stimulus? Dan will spend every penny of his new wages, almost immediately. Dan puts gas in his car and buys clothes and video games; he saves nothing. The wages you pay Dan will go directly into the economy.
4. Love private-sector health care? Put Dan on your insurance, and he won’t end up on medical assistance.
5. Value innovation? Innovation creates wealth. Innovation is automatic if you operate in an extreme environment. Check out NASA, NASCAR or the military. Like every worker with a disability, Dan brings his own “extreme environment” to your business. He may require you to rethink how you do things. That’s a good thing. Thousands of inventions — think Jacuzzi and cruise control — have resulted from accommodating people with disabilities.
Dan’s so attractive, a competitor may beat you to him. But worry not. There are 54 million Americans with disabilities, and when they all have jobs, our national debt will be under control.
Brian T. McMahon, Richmond
The writer is a professor of rehabilitation counseling at Virginia Commonwealth University.