Saturday, July 30, 2011

CNN Money: Social security stoppage could force filial responsibility on other family members

A CNN Money story by Tami Luhby Saturday starts out “Don’t you dare withhold our Social Security payments”, link here

The internals of the story get juicy.

We’ve written here that it’s likely that government has separate authority to borrow for Social Security, and both sides in the debate have accused the other of taking seniors hostage, inviting almost a Jonathan Swift like reply, which wouldn’t be funny.

A New York State resident told CNN that her bank told her, “If the government defaults on me, I still have an obligation not to default on them.” On the other hand, there are reports that the administration is talking to banks about forbearance.

But a man in Ohio told CNN that if social security checks stop coming, he would have to move in with his daughter. That brings up the next fire that social conservatives can set – reinstituting filial responsibility laws (or at least a strong cultural, even Confucian, expectation of filial piety. That seems to be what some “conservatives” want – throw everything one off public doles and make other family members (childless or not) legally responsible for them.  That’s how it was generations ago, before social programs made us soft, they will say.

It’s easy to say, this won’t happen, because government seems to have other ways to keep Social Security rolling even without the debt ceiling extension  (so the Tea Party says).  But consider the fiscal chaos if the government, even with an extension, simply can’t find lenders of the money. It has to roll over $500 billion in principal every month. Hardly anyone talks about this.

Poppy Harlow of CNN talks about “why you care about a debt downgrade”:

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