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Friday, April 6, 2012

Joe Zarelli's "I Got Mine" Budget

Posted by on Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 7:02 AM


A Washington lawmaker has been drawing thousands of dollars in disability payments each year while leading efforts to eliminate benefits the state provides to others.

Republican Sen. Joseph Zarelli gets $601 a month from the federal government, indicating that he is considered 40 percent disabled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, according to records obtained by The Associated Press under public records law. He has been receiving the tax-free stipend for years.

Zarelli said the disability payments he gets are far different than the benefits provided in the state programs he's targeting for cuts, in part because he suffered his injury on the job. He said the people in the state system were making poor lifestyle choices - such as drug and alcohol addiction...

People who make "poor lifestyle choices," Joe? Oh, you mean like 50-year-old William Cruz, whose life was saved by Disability Lifeline after finding himself on the street, permanently brain damaged from a black mold infestation.

Republicans love to slander Disability Lifeline as a program that solely serves drunks and drug addicts, but it's just not true. Either Zarelli truly doesn't understand the program, in which case he has no business cutting it, or he's attempting to intentionally mislead the reporters.

But as long as Zarelli is drawing distinctions between his disability and Cruz's, it's worth pointing out that the biggest difference is that if Zarelli lost his disability payment he wouldn't suffer much. He'd still have his legislative pay and the excellent benefit package that comes with it. Whereas when people like Cruz lose their disability, they end up dead on the streets, or costing taxpayers significantly more to treat in the emergency room.


Comments (13) RSS

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Theodore Gorath 1
It is a pretty common fallacy, we tend to believe that when bad things happen to others, they caused them, but when bad things happen to ourselves, we blame the randomness of the universe, or the machinations of others.

Although the "right for me, wrong for thee" stance republicans take on social services is pretty across the board. They all make these excuses.

I do find this particular case disgusting though, especially since I thought the whole point of disability was for people who can't work, or their ability to work is limited. Not people making about $200,000 (just in salary) a year. I am sure he really needs that $600 a month. Veteran or not, he is still an asshole.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on April 6, 2012 at 7:28 AM · Report this
Got that right. It would be funny to watch such hypocrisy if it wasn't also so tragic. Remember this is the guy who also pushes an broad anti-worker agenda, primarily focusing on public employees and teachers.
Posted by 1971 on April 6, 2012 at 7:29 AM · Report this
The Dopest 3
I know nothing of this senator, but from the Times article alone I am informed that he 1. served in the navy for seven years 2. Has received unemployment checks (while employed by the state) 3. Now receives his salary from the state as a senator and 4. Continues to draw disability checks despite the fact that he is employed full-time.

Since I know nothing about him that I did not learn from this article, it appears that this is a man that has never cashed a check that he did not receive from the government. His main goal? To reduce the number of checks handed out by the government.

So I can understand where he's coming from. If everyone deserved that taxpayer money as little as he has I would want to reduce payout too.
Posted by The Dopest on April 6, 2012 at 7:43 AM · Report this
By" poor lifestyle choices" I'm assuming he would include driving around on a suspended license while in possession of cocaine: http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.c…
Posted by Eirik1 on April 6, 2012 at 7:49 AM · Report this
The Dopest 5
@4's URL is incomplete. Here's an excerpt from the article:

"Records show that Zarelli, 34, was 21 when Edmonds police arrested him July 23, 1983, for driving with a suspended license and two municipal court warrants in July 1983. The incident report also says Zarelli was carrying a tiny but usable quantity of cocaine, less than one-tenth of a gram.

A supplemental report said the Washington State Crime Lab determined it to be cocaine."
Posted by The Dopest on April 6, 2012 at 8:08 AM · Report this
The only applicable *kind* description is "world-class hypocrite and ass".
Posted by gator bait on April 6, 2012 at 9:11 AM · Report this
slade 7
In the street they die like flys and you cant collect crap from anyone until you are dead. 100% disabled and over 60 years old.
Like in Greece where the guy killed himself as he could not afford medication or much else for that matter?

It was Pelosi's big deal to make America livable again? all we are left with are Republicans who are happy to watch the nation die in the street as they have the Roman Party.
Posted by slade on April 6, 2012 at 9:27 AM · Report this
seatackled 8
Sounds like fraud to me. And whatever injury it was he claimed to have sustained, it doesn't sound like it was any sort of battle injury--I can easily imagine him disregarding advice about how to carry heavy stuff while sneaking a keg onto the ship.

The cash payments stem from seven years Zarelli spent in the U.S. Navy during the 1980s, when he had some peacetime deployments.

Zarelli said he injured his back while on a ship and that the pain is now chronic, though he is still able to golf, hike and fish — and he spends much of his free time maintaining his six-acre property in Ridgefield. He said he’s learned various ways to manage the pain over time.

Read more here:…
Posted by seatackled on April 6, 2012 at 9:28 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 9
Yep, it's called the "Fundamental Attribution Error." People attribute personality flaws to others but situational flaws to themselves:…

It's the core foundation of the conservative party, it drives their entire agenda, and it's a complete fallacy that's been disproven again and again.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on April 6, 2012 at 9:33 AM · Report this
Did it ever occur to any of these culture warriors that some people self-medicate with drugs and/or alcohol precisely BECAUSE of their mental or physical illnesses? That it isn't a "lifestyle choice" in some cases, so much as a needed response to real problems?

It occurs to me that if I were in that situation, such a response would be even MORE tempting if people like Zarelli kept cutting off what meager benefits I was already able to receive, on the basis that I'm a bum who doesn't deserve them.
Posted by Pope Buck I on April 6, 2012 at 10:11 AM · Report this
@11 No kidding. You won't give me health care. You won't help me find and maintain a job so that I can get my own health care. You won't help me sustain my housing so that I can get a job so that I can get health care. And then you're all up in knots about me using THE ONLY OPTION YOU'VE LEFT ME to deal with my illness - self-medication? Really?
Posted by KayElle on April 6, 2012 at 11:52 AM · Report this
balderdash 13
The complete failure of empathy - and what that is, deep down, is no more or less than the ol' Fundamental Attribution Error - is the absolute and definitive essence of conservatism.

"My problems are your fault, but your problems... are also your fault. Therefore, fuck you."

edit: I see Urgutha already beat me to this in almost identical terms. Well done, there.
Posted by balderdash on April 6, 2012 at 12:15 PM · Report this
Lew Siffer 14
A military disability has nothing to do with income. My friend was riding his motorbike on base and got into a crash. Left him with, I forget the specifics, but say 40% useable shoulder. So for the rest of his life he gets a 200 or 300 dollar check. IIRC there was a stink awhile back about a guy who was drawing military disability cheques b/c he contracted herpes in the military. Funny no?
Posted by Lew Siffer on April 6, 2012 at 3:30 PM · Report this

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