Mad SeniorToday, Fran Liotta has two harsh words for the U.S. government, "unconscionable, outrageous!"

The 77-year-old retiree says she had to read President Obama's warning twice. She couldn't believe that the federal government was saying it couldn't guarantee that Social Security checks will be mailed Aug. 3 if Congress doesn't take action on the debt ceiling.

"I won't be able to pay my rent or eat if I don't get my check. They can't work this out on the backs of senior citizens. Raise the taxes on the wealthy. I don't know what I will do if this happens," says Liotta.

The warning Tuesday that tens of millions of Social Security recipients may find their mailboxes empty when they go looking for their checks sent shockwaves through the senior community. They wasted no time having their say. "Now is not the time for elected leaders on either side of the aisle to play politics with Americans' hard-earned Social Security benefits," said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond in a prepared statement. On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to the criticism from seniors and their advocates, telling reporters "that the president's position has always been that we will not get to that point [of not paying Social Security benefits] because Congress will do the right thing."

"While there may be disagreement over different policies, there should be no disagreement that it would be both irresponsible and immoral to fail to make Social Security benefit payments to seniors who have worked and contributed over their lives to earn their benefits," said LeaMond. "Tens of millions of Americans rely on Social Security to help pay for basic necessities, including rent, food and health costs, and AARP is fighting to protect the hard earned benefits that are critically important to all Social Security beneficiaries. AARP is adamant that Social Security and Medicare benefits must not be cut in any way as part of any deal to pay the nation's bills and will continue our efforts to raise the voices of older Americans who rely on these programs for their health and financial security." she added.


Phil Kent, CEO of the American Seniors Association, is asking how the leaders of a nation that is supposed to be the world's greatest economic engine could even be considering such a solution? "It's a shame that it has gotten to this. We are already getting calls and email from our members -- they are concerned," says Kent.

Some take issue with the statement that without a debt deal, there wouldn't be enough money to pay Social Security. "There is enough revenue coming in to cover all entitlement payments -- just nothing left to cover other discretionary and non-discretionary spending," says Lance Roberts, CEO of Streettalk Advisors. "The administration is using Social Security payments as a fear tactic."

Default Would Be a Catastrophe for the Economy


Cutting off those payments would have a huge impact. "77% of seniors depend on Social Security for all or most of their monthly income," says Jim Firman, president and CEO of the National Council on Aging. "One in three seniors are living on the edge financially and it would be absolutely devastating to them if their checks were to be delayed. Congress and the president need to agree on a balanced debt ceiling proposal soon to keep it from happening. Otherwise there will be political hell to pay."

The economy can ill-afford the chaos. Consumer spending is already weak and a $20 billion hit to the economy would push it very close to zero growth very quickly, says Roberts.

A better course of action, says Roberts, is to raise the debt ceiling. "The Treasury is already dipping into federal pension funds to meet spending needs," he says. "There is $500 billion in government debt that has to be rolled over in August or we will be in default. Default will be a catastrophic problem. Save the political pandering and fear mongering for working on the 2011-2012 budgets going forward. Work on ways to cut spending that doesn't affect the growth of the economy."

The government cannot selectively pick which obligations to pay, and which should be deferred, says Jerry Kremer, chairman and CEO of grassroots lobbying and government relations firm Empire Government Strategies and a former New York state assemblyman. "Monthly government costs are not an option, but a mandated requirement for government to keep its obligations to the nation. Most members of Congress, especially the newer ones, don't understand the debt limit issue and that its ramifications will go far beyond a Social Security payment. Individual taxpayers try to keep up with their mortgages or rent to avoid personal default. Government doesn't have that option either."

Says Hazel Pachtman, 88: "I may not suffer, but I will change how I spend money. But I'm thinking of people who are depending on those checks. The rest of the world will look at us with contempt. This should be illegal. Social Security is the law of the land and nobody should be trying to destroy it."

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r.powel46

Social Security was created as a savings account for each individual that pays into it through their paychecks. The money collected is for people who retire and the disabled . They have paid for their right to have it. It is their money, it is not the governments money.


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June 15 2013 at 2:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mona2010

i think the president just tried to prepare everyone for the inevitable... its congress that makes the final decision and the president's job is just to either veto the bill or pass it... at the very last minute that's when congress decided to pass to raise the debt ceiling... i would have him try to warn me about my ss checks than wait till the last minute and find out that my ss payment wasn't deposited in my account... i thank him for that, because i try to prepare my self in getting in touch with my utility companies, my landlord and i try to stretch out what ever food i have left over...and if congress didn't agree on a debt ceiling amount before august 2, then we'll be in big trouble.. i don't think it was part of any scare tactics, it was just a manner of warning us in case congress didn't agree.. it was the new tea party that held everyone back... if they had their way, they'll cut social security benefits out completely...next election they are out of there...

August 07 2011 at 9:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
allraj

Its time for the senior citizens of this country to unite. The statements made by the President of the United States reguarding the Aug 2011 payments of Social Security was disgraceful. He made it two times for effect, to scare the senior citizens of the United States of America. I think its time we cleaned out the whole bunch of them, we do have the power in the vote. The senate and the house of representatives have taken it to the limit its time to bring in new blood. Its not like they were giving the seniors something free, we paid for it, and its not that much. Its time to listen, we can't depend on these so called representatives. I have never heard a President even think of hurting the seniors, you heard it. Make sure you remember it when you vote in 2012. We can't depend on this President anymore! He doesn't want the people who made this country to survive, remember he is quite wealthy and only cares about himself, he want to cut medicare,change healthcare, raise taxes, and said twice social security checks may not go out in AUG 2011. Remember this is the Fall of 2011

July 31 2011 at 9:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vjustdreamin45

When, starting with Lyndon Johnson, SS funds were put into the general fund, OUR HARD-EARNED BENEFITS have been up for grabs ever since.

I say, there are enough of us SS, Medicare and Disability recipients, that we can start a class-action lawsuit/movement towards getting the corrupt gov to keep their paws out of our SS funds by having it go back into the original SS fund. I think that if we elderly get riled enough, we can show 'em just how a gang of millions and millions of us can back 'em back up against the wall, then leave our hard-won benefits alone! Then the gang of six and then they along with their GOP collegues and their constituients will see the elderly, indeed are not weak and can be pushed around. We built the SS up off our own sweat and tears, HOW DARE THEY STEAL IT AWAY.

We need to stop their ponzy scheme...that's what it amounts to.

I imagine some of our gov leaders and I'm thinking, obviously, it's the GOP, wouldn't mind at all if half of us dropped dead right now from the stress and the other half, just die off slowly from the suffering they would endure, then succomb to, from having no SS benefits at all. Has it entered some minds, of all the billions of dollars that would then be freed-up by that? It's a worst case scenario, but just think about it...are these humane people? Sure, the GOP would like to do it in steps, as evidenced by their 'step by step' proposals cos it would less apparent what they surely must be up to. All criminals try to cover their tracks, huh?
It's like vicious wolves seeking out their prey.
Hey folks, we are NOT their prey...WE NEED TO SHOW THEM, WE MEAN BUSINESS!

All for now....whew!

July 28 2011 at 12:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
twowolfcats

Two things I can think of: 1) Vote them all out of office and replace them or 2) deny the Congressmembers their paychecks. Politics is all about lying. That's why I don't like it and I hate voting for that very reason. Politicians are not honest. They pay themselves which they should not in my opnion. They keep giving themselves pay raises and punish the poorest of the poor just for being poor. Most of the poor are the ones working their butts off to take care of the wealthy. The wealthy should be taking the tax raises not the poor. Think of the story of Robin Hood. Who got punished in this story? The poor while the wealthy got richer. Robin Hoods "saves" the day by returning the monies to te poor so the story says. The dishonesty also shows that the Congresmembers have to use scare tactics. So, I'm just going ti sit back and see what happens to this whole fiasco. Next time voting time comes around, I'm going to do the right thing and vote the cowards/liars out. I've had it to the ceiling about the lying, fear tactics and all that stupidity that goes on.

July 27 2011 at 7:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GARY

ON THIS SUBJECT I MUST MAKE A COMMENT, THIS IS A CHEAP SHOT BY OUR PRESIDENT TO THREATEN AMERICA'S SENIOR CITIZENS WITH SOCIAL SECURITY WITHHOLDINGS IF HE DOESN'T GET HIS WAY TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING SO HE CAN SPEND ANOTHER 2 OR 3 MORE TRILLION OF OUR TAX DOLLARS. OBAMA IS INCOMPETANT AND HIS ADMINISTRATION IS NOW AN EVIL EMPIRE. HE SPENDS RECKLESSLY AND THEN BLAMES THE REPUBLICANS. WE ARE IN THIS NATIONAL DEBT CRISES SIMPLY BECAUSE OUR LAST TWO PRESIDENTS SPENT A HELL OF A LOT MORE THAN THEY TAKE IN. REGARDLESS OF YOUR POLITICAL PREFERENCE, THIS IS A SHAMEFULL CIRCUMSTANCE, AND THE PRESIDENTIAL REPURCUSSION SHOULD NOW BE SERIOUS CONSIDERATION FOR IMPEACHMENT OF OBAMA FOR HIS MISAPPROPRIATION AND MANAGEMENT OF TAX PAYERS MONEY. HE HAS NOW PLACED US IN THIS UNBELIEVABLE HIGH DEBT AND NOW HE WANTS EVEN MORE ALL AT TAX PAYERS EXPENSE. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, STOP THIS MANIAC AND BEGIN TO IMPEACH HIM FROM OFFICE. AMERICA IS SICK AND TIRED OF HIS WORTHLESS RHETORIC.

July 27 2011 at 6:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jmsjwbb

If the Government defaults on it's debts, I will be voteing for all new leaders in Washington, from the President on down. They are not earning their saleries. The tea party is the main culprit in this mess.

July 27 2011 at 5:38 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
lilspicey

What I find is how stupid the government seems to think it's people are. They are fighting like children over this debt ceiling, when they knew about it months ago. It should have been addressed a long time before this. All this is, plain and simple is a political war to see which bully is going to rule the playground and get everyone's lunch money. Put all these children in time out and elect some adults.
We the people know this is a play to gain political power, and the funding for the special bills your party wants, with no consideration for the American people, only what will fatten your wallets and give you majority rule. Get over yourselves people. Not a single one of you is that important. Listen to the people, they are angry, and you are pushing them into a corner. You all may not like this coming election.

July 27 2011 at 4:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lilspicey's comment
rini1946

You are right we got to stop blaming the repusle a cans and the dem o rats they are both guilty Its like a majic act the one party says look at them they are doing this and while you head is turned they got you wallet.

July 27 2011 at 5:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Puppers Lover

The fact is this SOCIAL SECURITY has the money it is not broke!!!!!!!!!! Scaring seniors is wrong !!

July 27 2011 at 4:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
lilspicey

Social Security was created as a savings account for each individual that pays into it through their paychecks. The money collected is for people who retire and the disabled . They have paid for their right to have it. It is their money, it is not the governments money.
For the government to say they want to make cuts or hold back payment is a crime against the people. It is virtually stealing.
The surplus of money was not intended for the government to use or include into their own budgets.
I am a disabled veteran, and am married to a veteran as well. We live on a budget that has no room for variances.
The Social Security Act made allowances for the elderly who have retired, for the disabled, parents without partners, and medicare. These are ours. These are not things the government has a right to alter.
I feel they have a right to limit how many children will be covered, because there are many people who have kids just for the paycheck. I have seen it many times.
Each of us gets a payment determined by how much we paid in during their time frames. I feel this is wrong. It is my money, I should be able to collect on all monies I have paid in over my lifetime.
I make a small amount, only 500.00 after I pay for my monthly medicare payment, of which I do not get to use too often because Doctors and hospitals just don't want to take it anymore. They say medicare is not funded? What is my payment for? It is funded by the people.
For this to be our senior , disabled, and poverty stricken health care, I find it horrible. It is no good if no one will take it.
The government is not suppose to be allowed to vote themselves in a better way of life than they offer to their people. They are suppose to be on our medical plan, and if economy is bad, and we don't get a cost of living raise, they can not have raises either.
Maybe if they had to use our health care plan they would be more concerned with what is right instead of what will make them money.
I feel that when a candidate takes office he has to comply with certain rules.
1. can not invest in stocks.
2. can not be involved personally or financially with big business.
3. has the same benifits that the nations people are offered.
4. does not receive full pay upon completion of their term for life. They must return to the working class.
5. can only serve 3 terms and must resign from politics and become a normal citizen
6. does not get life time health care, they must purchase insurance just like everyone else.
Our officials need to understand that they are not special, they are people just like we are, and it is about time they start living just the way we do. Maybe then they will do what is right by the nation and it's people. If it helps us, it will also help them when they are no longer in office.

July 27 2011 at 4:42 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lilspicey's comment
STEPHEN

VERY WELL SAID, I TOO IM A DISABLED VETERIAN AND DEPEND ON SS TO LIVE, I DID MY JOB AT WAR WHY CANT THE GOVERMENT DO THERES. FOOD GOES UP, TAXES GO UP AND EVERY THING ELSE BUT YOUR RIGHT WE DONT GET A DAM THING EXTRA TO LIVE ON. GOD HELP US ALL
SGT S

July 27 2011 at 6:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply