America's only admittedly socialist member of Congress said Wednesday that he disagreed with President Obama's comments concerning Social Security checks possibly not going out on August 3rd if the debt ceiling isn't raised.
When Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he felt checks to seniors and disabled vets would be issued no matter what, the host of MSNBC's "The Ed Show" responded, "So you would take issue with the President on that statement, that he may have been fear-mongering in essence?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: And Senator, what was your response to the President when he told a, an anchor in an interview he couldn’t guarantee that the checks would be there on April 3rd [sic], that he couldn’t guarantee that the Social Security checks would, would hit people’s bank accounts if we don’t take action? What’s your response to that? True or false?
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (I-VERMONT): Well, there are differences of opinion about that. There are some who would argue, and I tend to agree, that given the fact that Social Security has a $2.6 trillion surplus, then you can figure out a way you must make sure that seniors and disabled vets get their checks.
SCHULTZ: So you would take issue with the President on that statement, that he may have been fear-mongering in essence?
SANDERS: What he is saying is, look, there’s not enough money here to pay our debts. That’s true. I think, in fact, we can pay Social Security.
Interesting when possibly the most liberal member of Congress goes on national television contradicting a Democrat president. That'll teach Schultz never to ask a question he doesn't know the answer to.
Of course, on this rare occasion, Sanders was correct. The Bipartisan Policy Center published some very compelling numbers about this matter that jive nicely with what NewsBusters has been sharing for over a week.
As reported by the Weekly Standard Friday:
The BPC study found that the United States is likely to hit the debt limit sometime between August 2 and August 9. “It’s a 44 percent overnight cut in federal spending” if Congress hits the debt limit, [Jay Powell of the Bipartisan Policy Center]said. The BPC study projects there will be $172 billion in federal revenues in August and $307 billion in authorized expenditures. That means there's enough money to pay for, say, interest on the debt ($29 billion), Social Security ($49.2 billion), Medicare and Medicaid ($50 billion), active duty troop pay ($2.9 billion), veterans affairs programs ($2.9 billion).
That leaves about $39 billion to fund other things.
As such, whether or not the President specifically said Social Security checks are in jeopardy if the debt ceiling isn't raised, the mere suggestion is indeed fear-mongering, and the American people deserve a more factual representation of what would happen in a few weeks if Congress doesn't reach an agreement on this issue.
As it's become crystal clear that's not going to come from the White House or their media minions, it sure was surprising to see a grain of truth on MSNBC, especially coming from Sanders.