Obama Holds Retirees and Vets Hostage to Debt Negotiations

According to CBS News,

President Obama on Tuesday said he cannot guarantee that retirees will receive their Social Security checks August 3 if Democrats and Republicans in Washington do not reach an agreement on reducing the deficit in the coming weeks.
“I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven’t resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley, according to excerpts released by CBS News …
Mr. Obama told Pelley “this is not just a matter of Social Security checks. These are veterans checks, these are folks on disability and their checks. There are about 70 million checks that go out.”

This is all patently ridiculous.

During the 1995-96 budget crisis, much of the government was shut down. Government workers were sent home and the national parks were closed. However, there was never the hint–nor the threat–that Social Security or Veterans benefits would be touched. Indeed, since Social Security benefits are kept on a separate ledger from the rest of the budget, and since Social Security is–for the moment–still solvent, Social Security benefits should be the last thing affected by this debt showdown.

What is going on here? It is pure theater. Clinton and the Democrats believe that they somehow benefited from the 1995-96 budget crisis, so Clinton has been counseling Obama not to waver and to force the GOP to back down or to precipitate a government shutdown. Either way the Democrats think Obama will win. Obama, not knowing any kind of restraint, has done Clinton one better–instead of threatening to close down the government, he has threatened retirement checks. If no deal is reached and there is a shutdown, he wants senior citizens to hurt, and Republicans to take the blame.

Can he succeed in this gambit? In the short-term, Obama may benefit in the polls if enough people have their heads in the sand and are confused about the issues. However, he and the Democrats learned the wrong lesson from the budget crisis of 1995-96. While Clinton experienced an uptick in the polls after the crisis was over, his reelection in 1996 can be credited not to the budget crisis, but to Ross Perot and to a feckless Republican candidate who soon became a spokesman for Viagra (no lie). The Republicans lost eight seats in the House in that election, and gained two in the Senate, so the government shutdown was a wash in terms of the 1996 election.

However, in this case, one wonders if Obama has pushed things too far. Is he a President working in good faith to solve America’s problems, or a hostage taker? Somehow, looking at Obama’s words, what was brought to mind was this magazine cover from years ago: “If you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll kill this dog.” Except, in this case, Obama appears to be serious, and he is threatening old people and veterans.

What won’t Obama do to get reelected?

As shown in the graph below, on August 3 there will be enough cash on hand for the US government to pay for defense, Medicare, Social Security, and interest on the national debt.

The President is bluffing, or he is a fool. Either way, the American people should not be held hostage to these kinds of threats, and Social Security payments should not be the subject of political theater.

(H/t James Pethokoukis via Generational Dysfunction)

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11 Responses to Obama Holds Retirees and Vets Hostage to Debt Negotiations

  1. wdednh says:

    It is so sad we America is today!

  2. Pingback: Obama Holds Retirees and Vets Hostage to Debt Negotiations (via The Tree of Mamre) | YOU DECIDE

  3. genomega1 says:

    Yep, Obama lies and the msm swears to it. $200 billion flows into the Govt every month more then enough to pay the bills. What they want is the ability to borrow billions more every month.

    • John Scotus says:

      He really wants to raise taxes more than anything else, I think. It is in keeping with the idea that America should be more European in its outlook and government.

  4. Deborah says:

    This is the most evil thing yet to come our of Owebama’s mouth. To threaten seniors, veterans and the disabled is about as low as you can go.
    I paid into my SS retirement for 50 years. I did not have a choice to invest these monies, I was forced by the government to do this. Initially we were told that these monies would go into a lock box and were secure. Then they started using these monies for whatever they felt like.
    Now they are saying there is nothing left.
    I hope that what others are saying, that this is just a scare tactic to make the republicans cave is true, but in some ways it makes it even more evil to scare millions of Americans when there is no truth to such a statement.
    I am at the point that I will willingly go without my benefits just to call this jerk’s bluff. There goes another 50 million Americans who will not reelect this d###.

  5. Freedom, by the way says:

    This was a calculated statement–I only hope it backfires in a big way. It will be interesing to see what TODAY brings. Probably more of the same. They will wait until the 11th hour and do another extension so we can go through this, yet again.
    I’m adding you to my Links to Freedom blog roll. Nice site!

  6. I’m pretty sure, John, that Obeyme graduated summa cum laude from the Alinsky School of Revolutionary Tactics.

  7. HatesConGames says:

    What a bunch of b.s. and lies. It is the GOP who is threatening the American people, seniors, etc. by protecting the uber rich. The fact that Obama said that IF the GOP does not do the right thing by the American people, it is the GOP that is threatening them. All you haters are doing nothing but bashing the messenger while protecting the real people who threaten all of you the most. Lemmings.

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