Everyday you see a multitude of new stories about how our national debt is threatening Social Security checks. Some argue that there won’t be enough money to make those payments in August if the debt issue isn’t resolved. Others say this is merely a scare tactic used to push the debt resolution issue. Regardless of political affiliation two things are true. One, our debt needs a solution. Two, those checks must be issued. In keeping a neutral political tone, the truth is, the debt can be resolved in ways other than suspending payments to those in need. What that entails exactly is the largest part of this debate.
What All The Fuss Is About
On one hand, there are talks to raise the debt ceiling. By doing so, we could afford to continue payments of many kind and, in a sense, take on more debt. It is suggested that failing to raise the debt ceiling could result in a national financial disaster, where home values would sink, stock markets plummet and interest rates would spike. The intent would be to raise the amount of money we would be allowed to owe, therefore allowing us to borrow more; in efforts to avoid such major financial disruptions.
On the other hand, discussions focus on raising taxes. The main argument here is that the government has raised the debt ceiling numerous times over the years, all crossing both party lines, and not much has come of it. There is, of course, numerous other reasons spurring the debate against raising the debt ceiling. However, a tax increase would be able to pump more money into the source of our need based programs. It seems like a direct solution. Of course, it comes with its own costs.
What This Means For Social Security Payments
The one thing both parties can agree on is that we need to prioritize spending cuts. Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) checks are funded by the general revenue tax stream. These checks provide income for many Americans over the age of 65 or that are disabled. SSI checks are reserved for those that are in extreme need and have significantly limited income and resources to make ends meet. Not receiving these checks is simply not an option. The recipients of these benefits have no other place to turn to cover daily living expenses.
It is hard to imagine that either side feels like taking from those already in need is the way to cut costs. This isn’t the first time Social Security checks were at risk due to budget problems. In 1996, the government claimed it did not have enough to pay. A temporary solution was reached by raising the national debt limit. No one can say for sure which solution is the best for the current situation. However, President Obama is expected to continue discussions with both parties to reach short and long-term solutions.