Social Security is a National “Debt”


The Republicans in the Congress are once again playing games regarding the National Debt ceiling and are confusing voters as to the obligations the government must pay to avoid a default.

Forty percent (40%) of the federal budget is wasted on interest payments towards the National Debt. This interest must be paid to avoid a default. A failure to pay these long-term obligations would cause catastrophic ripple effects worldwide.

Regarding the remaining 60% of the budget, Social Security retirement and Medicare also involve obligations that must be paid. Social Security is not a discretionary spending program. People paid into Social Security all their lives. If the federal government defaulted on it, they would breach the social contract made by the people who paid into the system since 1935. In terms of an obligation, Social Security retirement is no different than the 40% of the budget devoted toward paying interest.

Republicans have advanced the argument that if we raise the Debt Ceiling to continue paying the 40% owed to our lenders, we must cut Social Security. They have it wrong. We must pay both those who lent the government money, and the Social Security recipients who paid into the system.

Someone said if we continued paying the lenders their 40%, and the Social Security recipients the benefits to which they are entitled, there would be nothing left to cut but defense. So be it. If the Republicans oppose the idea of cutting defense, they have to then have the courage to raise taxes. The problem is they think we can maintain massive defense budgets, with troops around the world, without raising taxes. They make no sense.

Since the Republicans in the House stubbornly refuse to raise taxes to pay for the wars President Bush started, they leave the country no option, but to make massive cuts in defense.

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