In the past couple of days both President Obama and Senator Harry Reid have claimed that unless the debt ceiling is raised that there is no guarantee that Social Security checks will go out in August.
This is true as far as it goes. However, if Social Security checks don't go out it will only because Obama has decided he'd rather send the money to a friendly organization like Planned Parenthood or the SEIU or continue trashing the US economy by funding his EPA than allow Social Security checks to be issued.
The fact is that absent a debt ceiling the US can, indefinitely, pay principal and interest on our debt -- thereby avoiding default; obligations under Social Security and Medicare; and active duty military salaries. It can do this and still have $40 billion per month to play with. You can run your own permutations of what will happen using this calculator.
None of this is to say that all will be peachy keen as a lot of tough decisions will be have to be made by the White House. But as a man who professes to relish making the gutsy call we'd think he'd look forward to deciding whether to fund unemployment insurance or pensions or his personal chef and housekeeping staff.
What you are witnessing with this claim is an administration in disarray, one that will do or say anything. So they may very well decide that not paying Social Security checks is a great idea. We should not, however, concede that choice is brought on by a failure to increase the debt ceiling. Because it isn't. If Social Security checks don't go out it will be because Obama has decided it is to his political advantage to hurt as many Americans as possible.