If we don’t raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2 on Aug. 3 Social Security checks “would stop,” Sen. Harry Reid says.
“Social Security checks and veterans benefits and paychecks to our troops could stop. Some of the most vulnerable Americans would be placed at risk,” Harry says.
Now, why would that be? Is there not enough money coming in from Social Security taxes to cover the checks? If that’s the case, surely the $2.6 trillion dollar Social Security trust fund will be sufficient to cover the checks.
Does this mean the money to cover those checks has to be borrowed from the Chinese every month and, if we don’t raise the debt ceiling, the money is not there? Somebody pawned the key to the lockbox?
Surely not, after all Harry assured us every penny of the money is there at a March 29 rally in front of supporters waving signs reading “Back Off Social Security” and aimed at criticizing those evil Republicans who want to privatize the greatest social program in the history of the world.
“It’s not just an exaggeration that Social Security is headed for bankruptcy. It is an outright lie,” Reid informed his cheering minions.
“In Nevada more than any other state, Wall Street gambled with our money and Wall Street won and we lost,” Reid explained in a fatherly voice. “Families lost $17 trillion in savings, not billions, that’s trillions. But not one, even those who lost their jobs or lost their homes or their savings, lost a cent of their Social Security, not a penny. …
“Leave Social Security alone. Back off Social Security. It hasn’t contributed a penny, I repeat, to the deficit and it is in great shape for the next many decades.”
Or Aug. 3, whichever comes first.
So why won’t the checks go out? Not enough clerks to push the automated button? Is Obama just spiting Republicans for trying to take away his piggy bank? If he and Harry can’t have what they want, everybody will suffer?
Harry assured us the money was there in a letter to the Review-Journal chastising me for calling the Social Security trust fund nothing but IOUs. “Social Security opponents typically deride these securities as nothing more than meaningless ‘IOU’s,’” Harry wrote. “In truth, these securities are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, just like Treasury securities held by investors around the country, in China, and elsewhere.”
This was the same Harry Reid who in 1990 called the spending of that trust fund money on day-to-day expenses embezzlement. “During the period of growth we have had … the growth has been from two sources: One, a large credit card with no limits on it, and, two, we have been stealing money from the Social Security recipients of this country. …
“Maybe what we should do in conjunction with the president to really carry this conspiracy to its appropriate end, is rather than having it called the Social Security trust fund, why do we not change it and call it the ‘Social Security slush fund?'”
A decade later a Clinton-era budget document confirmed what Harry said:
“These (Trust Fund) balances are available to finance future benefit payments and other Trust Fund expenditures — but only in a bookkeeping sense. They do not consist of real economic assets that can be drawn down in the future to fund benefits. Instead, they are claims on the Treasury that, when redeemed, will have to be financed by raising taxes, borrowing from the public, or reducing benefits or other expenditures. The existence of large Trust Fund balances, therefore, does not, by itself, have any impact on the Government’s ability to pay benefits.”
The guy who wrote that is also denying it.
Full faith and credit somehow doesn’t seem to mean much when the checks start bouncing and the grocery clerk confiscates your credit card.