"Well, I don’t have a full answer, but I think it’s important to understand the extent to which leading Republicans live in an intellectual bubble. They get their news from Fox and other captive media, they get their policy analysis from billionaire-financed right-wing think tanks, and they’re often blissfully unaware both of contrary evidence and of how their positions sound to outsiders.
So when Mr. Romney made his infamous '47 percent' remarks, he wasn’t, in his own mind, saying anything outrageous or even controversial. He was just repeating a view that has become increasingly dominant inside the right-wing bubble, namely that a large and ever-growing proportion of Americans won’t take responsibility for their own lives and are mooching off the hard-working wealthy. Rising unemployment claims demonstrate laziness, not lack of jobs; rising disability claims represent malingering, not the real health problems of an aging work force."
Ah, it's all the fault of Fox and the "captive media"! Those son of a guns!
But wait . . . Is it only Fox that is responsible for these capricious claims that "rising disability claims represent malingering, not the real health problems of an aging work force"?
Consider the investigation of Krugman's own newspaper concerning Long Island Rail Road retirees who possibly overcharged their employer in the amount of more than $1 billion for disability payments (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/l/long_island_rail_road/index.html):
"In September 2008, The New York Times ran an investigation on former employees of the Long Island Rail Road. Drawing on government records and dozens of interviews, reporters found that nearly all retirees from this commuter rail service — the busiest in the nation, according to its Web site — were applying for and receiving federal disability payments.
The articles revealed that a web of doctors and facilitators were helping the workers file papers claiming they were disabled. The doctors ran what amounted to 'disability mills,' which prepared false medical assessments for the retirees to file with the Railroad Retirement Board. Facilitators were liaisons between the doctors and the workers."
Goodness gracious! The Times is also a part of this captive media conspiracy? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?