It bears repeating that Barack Obama said on Tuesday that he could not guarantee that Social Security checks would go out if a deal to raise the debt ceiling is not reached before the August 2nd deadline.
It bears repeating, as Senator Marco Rubio pointed out, if Social Security won't be paid because there is "no money in the coffers", it means -- as many of us have been saying for a long time -- that the Social Security Trust Fund is effectively a fiction. If the Trust Fund were real, there would be a couple trillion dollars in savings, in cash on deposit, sitting there to pay benefits once the surplus stops -- as it has now (anticipating about a $45 billion deficit in 2011.) But it isn't and there aren't. And this should be trumpeted from every rooftop every day until the next election even though, to be clear, Republicans have spent this money just as Democrats have. After all, any broadly anti-government and anti-spending mood accrues to the benefit of the GOP at this time; we just have to hope that this GOP crew is worthy of our lightly-held expectations that they are no longer the party of Democrat-lite, which was saw for much of the last decade.
It bears repeating that the Social Security surplus which we've run for decades has each and every year been spent by our members of congress along with their co-conspirators in the White House. Like thieves in the night with a sense of humor, they replaced that cash with government bonds, IOUs from the government to itself. Despite the protestations (i.e. lies) of Democrats, government bonds are not the same as cash. To prove it to yourself, go try to buy food at the supermarket with a bond.
It bears repeating that since government runs a huge deficit, the only way to repay those IOUs is by taxing Americans to pay for benefits which most Americans believed they'd already paid for through their payroll tax deductions. I repeat: Our politicians have spent our Social Security Trust Fund on bridges to nowhere and non-shovel-ready jobs and unneeded second engines for military jets and, in much smaller percentage, on legitimate and valuable functions of government.
It bears repeating that even taking in nearly $200 billion in the month of August, that would only be enough to pay bond interest, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, active duty military salaries, and about $50 billion more, but then not enough to pay for the many other functions of the federal government that we think of (and don't think of) every day. In other words, we are not spending just slightly beyond our means, but dangerously, immorally, insanely beyond our means, and there is simply no way to fix it without entitlement reform.
And it bears repeating, as Utah Senator Mike Lee said during his radio interview with me and Craig Silverman on Tuesday that President Obama's willingness to use scare tactics on senior citizens, to use them as pawns in this high-stakes game of political chess, is inflammatory, twisted, and un-American.
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