Social Security And The Debt Ceiling

This article is based on two articles.  The first was posted at Hot Air yesterday; the second was posted at yesterday. 

The Hot Air post concerns the testimony of Stephen Goss, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, during a Budget Hearing in Congress yesterday morning.  Mr. Goss was asked by Kansas Republican Representative Tim Huelskamp why Social Security checks might not go out August 3.  Representative Huelskamp pointed out that even under the debt limit the nation has enough money to cover the interest on its debt, Social Security payments, and more. 

The article reports:

“Goss confirmed the decision to send out Social Security checks (or not) would, indeed, be a Treasury Department (a.k.a. the administration’s) decision.

“”The responsibility of the Social Security Administration per se, my boss, Commissioner Astrue, is to in fact determine how much in the way of benefit payments people are supposed to receive,” Goss said. “We send that information actually over to the Department of the Treasury. They are the ones who actually send out the payments, whether it’s electronic funds, transfers, or check.””

The article at points out that the fact that the President is threatening Social Security payments if the debt ceiling is not raised further confirms the fact that there is no Social Security fund. 

The article at reports:

“Wait! What happened to Social Security’s “guarantee”? You know, the iron-clad assurance of Social Security benefits in exchange for paying into the program your whole working life? It’s something Democrats constantly talk about, particularly when attacking Republicans who propose privatizing the program.

“As Nancy Pelosi once put it: “Social Security has never failed to pay promised benefits, and Democrats will fight to make sure that Republicans do not turn a guaranteed benefit into a guaranteed gamble.”

“The AFL-CIO warned in 2005 about “President Bush’s plan to replace Social Security’s guaranteed benefits with risky private accounts.” The AARP describes Social Security as “the guaranteed part of your retirement plan.” Etc., etc.

“Turns out, this “guarantee” is a lie.

“In 1960, the Supreme Court ruled that workers do not have a legal right to their Social Security benefits.”
We can’t stop the scare tactics being used by the White House in the debt ceiling debate, but at least we can be aware that those threats are not only bogus, but they also reveal the fiscal irresponsibility that has run rampant in Washington since the 1960’s.