Earlier in the week, Obama said that he cannot guarantee that Social Security checks will go out on August 3 if the issue of the debt ceiling is not resolved. When he says “resolved”, he means having Congress agree to raising the ceiling.
Actually, if you listen to the video on the link, it is not just Social Security checks that are at issue. As Obama said, there are other checks that the government issues. As per his example, there are checks for veterans and checks for people on disability. But since all of the headlines have focused on Social Security, let’s focus on this.
This statement by Obama can only backfire on him and it seems it already has with his poll numbers. Of course, he is right not to guarantee anything, but obviously that is not his line of thinking here. He is simply trying to scare people into supporting an increase in the debt ceiling. He may have thought he was using a smart political tactic, but it was actually quite idiotic of him.
If he really wants to be a one-term president, the surest way to do that is to not have Social Security checks go out on August 3. He could try to blame it on Congress, but the facts just don’t support him and I think if it did happen (even though it won’t), enough people would realize that checks could still be issued without an increase in the debt ceiling.
This goes along with the same statements we have been hearing about how the U.S. government will default if the debt ceiling is not raised. This is false too. The government still has over $2 trillion a year in tax collections. It is actually about $200 billion per month right now. This means that the federal government would still have $200 billion per month at its disposal. This is more than enough to pay the interest on the debt and issue Social Security checks.
Of course, there would have to be drastic cuts in most other areas. The military would be drastically cut. The wars might have to come to an end. Many departments might have to be shut down like education, labor, housing, agriculture, etc. The federal war on drugs might have to stop. Foreign aid might have to stop. This all sounds like heaven to a libertarian.
This is why the debt ceiling will be raised. I don’t know if they will come up with more accounting gimmicks. I don’t know if thugs like Mitch McConnell will hand over dictatorial powers to the president to raise the limit himself. I don’t know if they will come up with some last minute plan with some phony cuts, most of which take place years down the road when it won’t matter.
The point is that politicians are not going to give up all, or even a portion of, their precious government programs. The only way they will give them up is if the general population demands it. There is not enough pressure right now. The Tea Party does not want taxes raised, but the Tea Party in general does not offer significant specific cuts in government spending other than repealing Obamacare.
In conclusion, the debt ceiling will get increased at some point. We might see some fireworks before it happens. We could only hope for a government shutdown, but don’t count on it. The debt ceiling will not go up because of Obama’s fear tactics of scaring senior citizens. It will go up because politicians want to spend money and keep people dependent on government.