Obamas Comment About Social Security Checks Wasn’t A Warning, It Was A Threat

Yesterday President Barack Obama broke his promise on fear mongering by claiming that he couldn’t guarantee that Social Security checks would go out if a debt deal isn’t reached. But today during a House Budget Committee hearing Congressman Tim Huelskamp asked the chief actuary of the Social Security administration if the checks could go out even if the government shut down.

His answer? Why, yes they could (video via Jim Hoft):

During this morning’s Budget Committee meeting, Congressman Huelskamp asked Stephen Goss, Chief Actuary for the Social Security Administration, to explain how the Obama administration could withhold Social Security checks to American seniors. The question was prompted by a statement by President Obama that he could not guarantee that Social Security checks would be mailed August 3, 2011, if Congress fails to increase the debt limit. Yesterday, Congressman Huelskamp issued a statement noting that it is irresponsible for the President to use seniors on Social Security as pawns to leverage his point in the debt limit negotiations.

Mr. Goss told Congressman Huelskamp: “The responsibility of the Social Security Administration per se, my boss, Commissioner Astrue, is to in fact determine how much in the way of benefit payments people are supposed to receive. We send that information actually over to the Department of the Treasury. They are the ones who actually send out the payments, whether it’s electronic funds, transfers, or check.”

In other words, whether or not the checks go out is up to Obama. Meaning his comments about the checks wasn’t a warning, it was a threat.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

    Obama is bluffing; the greedy geezers and blue hairs would lynch him if he dared to interfere with their freebies.

    • Caeslinger

      SSI, isn’t freebies, Medicare/caid is freebies.  That’s a governmental – forced – insurance program with no regard to what you are actually bringing in vs what you are paying out.  However, because of all the thieves in Washington, SSI no longer actually has any of the real money saved up over the years and NEEDS to be changed because you can’t borrow to pay people you promised to pay when you already borrowed as much money as you already have.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        Well, to be more accurate, Medicare isn’t a freebie either.  We’re all forced to pay taxes for it.  We’re all forced to participate in the program.  I understand why Americans, who pay into the programs their whole lives, want to get something back out of them.

        Problem is we’ve been put into a situation where the only way to fix the problem is to screw a lot of people over.

        • Caeslinger

          I agree with you :-)

          Just had to post just that, lol

        • Bingo

          I can not disagree more with the content and form of your comment. ” . . . the only way to fix the problem is to screw a lot of people over”—how about talking about screwing as few people as possible, or getting priorities straight so we don’t HAVE to “screw too many people over”—but to make a blanket statement about screwing people is just callous. Sorry to scold, but you need it on this. For example, Medicare and Social Security need fixing. What is the best way to fix these problems. We can’t just say they don’t work, drop them. Does Bill Gates need to be on Medicare? No. Would it be screwing him over if he didn’t get Medicare benefits? No. Means testing Medicare would not “screw over” the people now receive benefits but are not in dire need of them. If we required seniors who can afford it to keep their own insurance and pay more out of pocket expenses, we can begin to solve Medicare without too much screwing. Social Security. What do we do? We continue to pay it. The American people have paid in and they deserve the pay off. If we have to, we can means test social security too, and we might raise the retirement age by a year or so, but no more. And we might reduce the payments by 5%—we really need to think rationally and with care about how to solve the problems. We can not do what too many conservatives are saying right now–to drop these programs. Let’s solve our problems instead of punishing the public.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Well, basically what you’r advocating is doing nothing.  Which means that you want to screw younger Americans like me over so that you can keep collecting your benefits.

            It’s not an easy situation, but Social Security is a colossal disaster waiting to happen, and the only fix is to phase it out.

          • suitepotato

            Not exactly. 401Ks were nearly destroyed by the downturn and the Wall Street implosion, and have been destroyed as far as being an accepted and embraced part of the private workforce. Matching at all is on a sharp decline and those companies that still do are dropping their percentage of pay in rapidly. As the cost of living has gone up, the 401K contribution is becoming less and less affordable in the here and now. Pensions are largely a relic only held by people working well past retirement, and an unaffordable dinosaur in public employment. Social Security is in a bad way, paying nowhere near enough for retirees to live on beyond 1950, but this is 2011.

            Simply phasing it out will not work as long as this nonsense of intrusion into the markets and business without rhyme or rational reason, solely on the basis of political power accumulation, continues. Any private sector replacement mechanism will remain subject to Washington bringing about another train wreck economy and leaving old people without any ability to support themselves.

            That is the number one fix that needs to be done: removing Washington from any further ability to screw the nation’s finances into the ground ever again, and ensuring that proper rational safeguards are in place to prevent the private sector from inflating unsustainable bubbles, much less aid the creation and inflation of those bubbles and especially not make the government responsible for absorbing the bulk of the losses as happened so recently. There is no way that is going to happen by simply changing out the sociopaths de jure in Washington.

            Beyond that, the disastrous change in the private and public workforce towards a situation where people practically require a bachelor’s degree to even have the sort of income that once was common for mere high school diploma holders, and where people are doing the jobs of six people for the pay of one, squeezing ever more of the lower class, youth, and elderly clean out of ever having a chance for a sustainable income, must change back to where merely being an average human being was sufficient to be considered. As it is right now, that situation is only worsening. The abhorrent notion that being unemployed for longer than a few weeks makes you an unacceptable hiring risk, regardless of how bad the economy has been made well beyond their influence is getting worse. There are literally millions of Americans who cannot hope right now to ever see regular good paying employment again at both ends of the age spectrum. Countless youth and middle aged people will never get a shot now if things maintain in this way. The public schools are not being focused on, but instead, as more and more people get degrees and the bachelor’s becomes the new high school diploma, higher and higher degrees will be required to do more than be hamburger flippers. Those without high school diplomas will be a permanent underclass.

            Take a serious look at the Internet and tech companies with billion dollar valuations at present. They are not doing large hiring, but hiring few, and placing huge expectations on them. What do you expect the elderly to do to sustain themselves? Blog for a sub-minimum wage income? There’s only so much money to go around and what there is, is becoming devalued rapidly. At the other end, the Google and company end, fewer people doing vastly more work for one person’s wages. Money is becoming constricted, exactly the way liberals claim that a free market would, even if they are driving that. We need to see a reversal to where there are more jobs than people to hold them, debt as a percentage of GDP below 1%, and the dollar rebounding by a factor of 500.

            A couple of elections won’t change that. Obama may have accelerated the downhill slalom to disaster, but Bush began it. Ultimately, the Republicans will not magically save the economy. A whole new paradigm of government as keeping out of way and out from under foot is needed, and a whole new historical phenomenon on the order of WWII to drive the Earth’s economy into a multi-century expansion phase. That is simply not happening as long as politicians can do as they please. Changing the constitution won’t do it either, as the politicians are the ones who write the damn changes. Just as they won’t stop spending money that isn’t theirs in their insatiable quest for power, they will never accept structural change that would strip them of power altogether, much less write it and let us ratify it.

            Like it or not, this requires deep change in the minds and hearts of the people, and that is just not happening. They are too frightened and emotionally fractured and schismatic right now. It is going to take a disaster the likes of which no one wanted to see happen, just to get them to come to their senses. The best we can hope for now is a few years of reprieve, but in the end, this sad mutual assured self-destruction has become structuralized. Only alien contact, or discovery of warp power and gravity control to make rapid expansion into space possible is going to be sufficient and non-destructive of the whole planetary situation. Otherwise, rebellion and civil war are where we’re going. No one wants that, but no one seems to be able to make the changes in their thinking that will cause changes in their actions sufficient to avert it. Tragedy is slouching towards us…

          • Bingo

            Brilliant analysis!!  Thank you. We need all of our politicians to be  as circumspect as this poster is.

          • Bingo

            It appears you didn’t read my  entire post or you wouldn’t say I advocate “doing nothing.” Means testing is not doing nothing. Why would I want to screw younger Americans over? Of course not. Regarding phasing into a new system that really would protect Social Security, that is a plan that politicians should be looking at, but your overall comments suggest getting rid of Social Security and Medicare and I want to see them solvent and there for the neediest Americans while others can opt out. I don’t see that as doing nothing and as screwing your generation. I don’t know why you see it that way either.

    • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

      The geezers and blue hairs have actually paid into SS since they started working, like maybe 45-50 years.

    • badlands4

      It isn’t a freebie until you get to the point where you are collecting more than you paid in. It is a forced hazy future benefit

      • VocalYokel

        If we pay in and don’t collect, that will solve part of the problem.

        Barry-O will make it solvent again by rationing healthcare for us geezers.

    • suitepotato

      The AARP would be backed into a corner. Continue supporting a party and prez who are cutting funds to their people, or defend their people against it?

  • Bingo

    Good point. well put. What a terrible President–but what can we expect from a narcissist?

  • VocalYokel

    If La Cosa Nostra were to do this, the government would call it extortion.

    What should we call it when the Obamafia does it?

    • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bikebubba

      I call it an impeachable offense, along with his contempt of court orders telling him to issue drilling permits, his failure to prosecute voter intimidation by the Black Panthers, his flouting of the War Powers Act, and more.

      • Bat One

        The list is getting progressively longer! 

  • mickey_moussaoui

    Obama may become the first president to be burned in effigy by the Lawrence Welk Senior Social Society

  • SigFan

    Scaremongering and threatening the most vulnerable among us.  Obama should hang his head in shame for this, and the press should be pillorying him day and night until he apologizes and retracts this lie.  Of course neither is going to happen, but that doesn’t change the fact that it should.

  • http://www.eric.com.co Eric

    Doesn’t anyone understand the Constitution? The President is NOT
    empowered to control spending.  ONLY The Congress controls spending.
     The President is a butler; read his approx 10 powers and think about
    it.  Everything else believed about the President’s authority is a lie,
    brainwashed into your minds.  Will the President exercise powers that
    are not lawfully his?  Probably because Americans are gutless.  They
    elected him and we will get what we deserve for either doing so or
    allowing such to happen. If Obama fails to faithfully execute the laws
    (passed by Congress), he commits an impeachable offense.

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