Saturday, July 23, 2011
Will My wife and I still Enjoy Our Retirement Years?
Congress has until August 2 to raise the debt limit. If that does not happen, the federal government will have to make some tough choices on which bills to pay beginning August 3.
President Obama has warned that if the debt ceiling is not raised, Social Security checks may not go out in August. Obama also continues to warn that we may default on our debt if the debt ceiling is not raised.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), a member of the House Tea Party Caucus, accused Obama of using “scare tactics,” and said that Obama is getting bad advice from people who are “lying” to him.
“There is money there regardless of what we do,” said Gohmert.
Others in the Tea Party Caucus also take the view that the debt ceiling does not need to be raised. Rep. Michele Bachmann, for instance, emphatically said in one of her presidential campaign ads that she will not vote for a debt ceiling increase.
Who is right? Will we default on our debt on August 3? Can we maintain our current level of debt without dire consequences?
An analysis of these questions was conducted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank founded by two retired Republican Senators, Howard Baker and Bob Dole, and two retired Democratic Senators, Tom Daschle and George Mitchell.
According to its report, the federal government will receive about $172 billion and have bills totaling about $307 billion in August. This leaves a shortfall of about $135 billion.
To keep from defaulting on our nation's debt obligations, the Treasury Department would first need to pay the interest on the treasury bills due in August, which will be about $29 billion. Since there will be $172 billion in revenue in August, there will be more than enough money to pay the nation's debt obligations and there will not be a default.
Jay Powell, who served as Under Secretary of the Treasury under George H. W. Bush and is a Visiting Scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center, made this point in an interview on The Newshour.
“There's always going to be enough money to pay the interest on the debt, and it's very unlikely that there will be an actual debt default,” said Powell.
Tea Party Republicans are correct, therefore, when they say that there will be enough revenue to avoid a default. What about Social Security payments?
Social Security payments in the month of August will be about $49 billion. If we subtract the interest on the debt ($29 billion) from August revenue ($172 billion), we are left with $143 billion, more than enough to send out Social Security checks.
Tea Party Republicans are correct again. There will be enough revenue in August to avoid default and to make sure seniors get their Social Security checks.
The available options after those payments are made, however, with only $94 billion left, get more difficult. As Powell points out, we may not default on debt, but we will “default on lots and lots of very important payments.”
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will be in the unenviable position of trying to decide which payments will be made and which will not be made.
Note: My wife and I and the 60,114,000 social security recipients will be very unhappy if we do not get our SS check next month. Congress and President Obama( if he wants to be reelected in 2012) will not dare starve more than 60 million US citizens next month. Senior Citizens, let us unite to keep our SS payments on time.
Will my wife and I still enjoy our retirement years? We are dependent on our SS checks, so Congress and President Obama, you better do your job or else there will be a revolt in your hands!