Social Security checks hang in the lurch

  • Article by: Adam Belz , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 15, 2013 - 9:04 PM

Lack of a debt ceiling deal could cause delays for millions of seniors.

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lawstarOct. 15, 13 9:27 PM

America will not "default" unless it fails to pay the interest on its debt and there is plenty of money coming in to do that. Further there is sufficient income to pay the military and social security unless the administration chooses not to and to spend the money elsewhere just to make people feel pain. This article is designed to scare old people and is unworthy of a responsible press.

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endothermOct. 15, 13 9:44 PM

I would like to think that sanity will prevail and this outcome will be avoided. It isn't just about the pain caused to seniors themselves, many of whom have very limited resources, but entire sectors of our economy depend on retirees being able to pay their bills. That said, Republicans have proven that they are willing to do serious damage to the economy and hurt millions of people for no purpose.

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adambelzOct. 15, 1311:02 PM

lawstar -- you raise some important points. Yes, as the article points out, the Treasury will have about 2/3 of the money it needs to cover its bills, even if the debt ceiling is not raised. That's technically enough to cover interest payments and Social Security benefits. And it looks like Treasury will be able to move interest payments to the head of the line and continue to pay them, which would avoid default. But Treasury has said repeatedly that it isn't able to "prioritize" payments on any of its other bills, so it will have to pay bills as the cash comes in, in the order in which they're due, which means payments would be delayed. Treasury could be bluffing about that, but that's what it's saying, which would mean Social Security checks would eventually be delayed, regardless of whether the nation defaults. I think if you read the article carefully, not just the headline, you would find that it deals with most of the points you raise. Call me if you want to discuss further. 612-673-4405 -- Adam Belz

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JRBOct. 16, 13 1:29 AM

The government has plenty of money coming into the Treasury each month to pay the interest on all borrowed money, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps and Defense. The INTEREST on its DEBT for money it has borrowed is just 8% of the revenues coming in. So all the scare-mongering in the media about a government "default" is very disingenuous. That said, the government's revenues are NOT enough to pay for all the other obligations coming due each month. We rely on borrowing to cover the difference, which is primarily composed of salaries of government employees. If an extension of the debt limit is not agreed upon, President Obama would have the authority to specify which government programs and other initiatives would continue to be fully funded - many of which would arguably not be "essential" to keep the government operating. Obama would, however, be obligated to authorize payment of interest on the national debt, and if for some reason he were to choose not to that would be considered to be an impeachable offense. I don't believe it will come to that as Congress will come to some kind of an agreement that Obama would sign before any decisions like that need to be made. But this whole sorry episode does point to the fact that government spending needs to be reigned in considerably if we are to avoid far more serious fiscal problems in the future. The numbers do not lie.

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luzhishenOct. 16, 13 6:09 AM

This is the issue that ends the GOP as we know it.

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circleoflifeOct. 16, 13 6:32 AM

This is the issue that shows the DEMs true colors.

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circleoflifeOct. 16, 13 6:34 AM

Instead of pointing fingers and crying foul, what are you going to do to help anyone you know that my be affected by this. Parents and grandparents should be able to rest easy knowing their family will see them through this. Pay a neighbors bills until things are worked out. Get out there and be an American and help if needed and if you can.

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lawstarOct. 16, 13 6:48 AM

adambelz. Treasury is part of an administration that has unilaterally decided to delay the employer mandate, refuse to enforce DOMA, and the like. So to cite undefined "technical and logistical reasons" not to be able to prioritize debt rings about as hollow as the promise that Obamacare would allow one to keep one's doctor and reduce premiums by on average by $2,500 per year. Neither the administration nor the media has any real credibility left.

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theagonybhoOct. 16, 13 7:06 AM

Number 1 we dont just default Thursday, more doom and gloom from the DEMS, as for Lack of a debt ceiling deal could cause delays for millions of seniors, onlty if Obama lets it. He had all kinds of options on the shutdown and chose the painfull path. If the GOP and the DEMS cant figure it out and it takes a shutdown and default to get them moving towards a long term deal so be it.

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luzhishenOct. 16, 13 7:18 AM

"Half of Americans on Social Security depend on it for 90 percent of their income, " in other words, these are the "takers" that the GOP despises.

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