Wednesday, 09 October 2013
Social Security Payments Said to be at Risk
The Social Security Administration has been telling people who ask that if the debt ceiling is not raised before the current limit is reached next week on 17 October, “it cannot guarantee that Social Security benefits can be paid in full.”
As UPI reported Monday evening:
”The agency is notifying beneficiaries that 'unlike a federal shutdown which has no impact on the payment of Social Security benefits, failure to raise the debt ceiling puts Social Security benefits at risk,' a person familiar with the agency directive told the [Wall Street] Journal.
"'Our employees started receiving questions from the public, so the agency worked with Treasury to provide an answer they could use when asked about the debt ceiling by the public,' a Social Security Administration spokesman said.
In Monday's post here, several commented that they don't need their Social Security benefit. That is nice for them but there are in the U.S. more than 62 million people – retired workers, disabled workers, widow(er)s, spouses and children – who receive Social Security and/or SSI payments that average $1162 per month. Most of them need every penny.
Of course, Social Security is not the only government bill that won't be paid if the U.S. defaults on its debt. Actually, pretty much all of them won't be paid which the experts tell us will cause a global meltdown at least as bad as 2008.
As a report the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued last week, explains:
”...the U. S. dollar and Treasury securities are at the center of the international financial system.
“A default would be unprecedented and has the potential to be catastrophic: credit markets could freeze, the value of the dollar could plummet, U.S. interest rates could skyrocket, the negative spillovers could reverberate around the world, and there might be a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008.”
A number of Congressional Republicans say it doesn't matter if the U.S. defaults on its debt. Make no mistake: they are beyond stupid. Default would be catastrophic not just for your and my Social Security checks but for the economy of the entire world. Europe is frightened about U.S. instability:
”Alain Frachon, a columnist and former Washington correspondent for the French newspaper Le Monde, said, Washington is looking more like the Italian political system, with its permanent crises, and not a presidential system, as before.
“'People are worried about the debt ceiling — it could be the little drop that could trigger another crisis in financial markets,' he said.
'“And it’s just when there was the perception for the first time in the long sovereign debt crisis that there is a window of opportunity to breathe a little bit, and to introduce a bit more suppleness into the way we’ve managed it,' a spokesman said.
Last weekend, on his Moyers & Company television program, Bill Moyers delivered this essay about how the Republicans – the REPUBLICANS, do not forget that – are sabotaging our democracy.
Moyers refuses to go along with most of the media's unending drumbeat of false equivalence that makes it easy to think that Democrats and Republicans are equally responsible for Congress's deadlock. That is decidedly not true.
Thomas F. Schaller is with Moyers on this and he was speaking for me when he concluded in a recent column in the Baltimore Sun:
”Sane or not, it's clear that fault for the current government shutdown lies with the rump, radicalized, tea party-beholden congressional Republicans who have no regard for the legislative process, the country's credit rating, political traditions, or the U.S. Constitution they supposedly revere. Blame them.”
You can read his full column here.
As terrible as it is individually to contemplate missing or reduced Social Security checks, I am deeply concerned – frightened too - that these monstrously dimwitted Republicans will take the world over a brink that would, as the Wall Street Journal predicts, "dwarf the Lehman debacle."
How about you? I am also curious about how TGB readers who live in other countries are looking at this.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Mickey Rogers: The No Frills Airline (satire)