Monday, October 19, 2015

Debt limit issue comes back, this time with some urgency; Social Security Trust Fund obfuscation comes up again

The debt ceiling issue has come storming back, with a scary analysis from the Bipartisan Policy Center here. Lew has a video about a possible “terrible accident” on Yahoo!  But it isn’t affecting markets yet.

The latest estimates are that the Treasury could run out of cash Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, -- haha, an election day in suburban northern Virginia.

Boehner’s leaving the House is said to complicate the issue.

My own November Social Security check comes Tuesday, Nov. 10 (because Wednesday Nov. 11 is a holiday).

Last two times around (in 2011 and 2013) I wrote a lot of columns about the legal protection to Social Security payments, because of the “Trust Fund Accounting Trick” (which some pundits say is the way Bill Clinton created the appearance of a budget surplus in the 90s).  I won’t rehearse these today, but I suspect that the debate on Social Security payment mechanics will resurface in the next few days.  The best discussion of this got written in comments in the New York Times in early 2013 by a couple of law professors (see Issues blog Jan. 13, 2013). Earlier cycles on this issue led to the coining of new words, like “Timocracy”.

Will Congress act at the last minute, as it always has?  BPC says that this time Halloween timing (and High Heels Race in Washington) could make it testier.  In the meantime, other moralists talk about sheltering seniors whose social security payments got missed.  Is it our responsibility to be ready for every possible failure of our system?  That drives the Second Amendment crowd.

This issue will evolve in the next few days.  No doubt we will hear from Porter Stansberry and Ron Paul.  Is this why they were predicting an October crisis? I get concerned when I hear "conservative" persons in Congress threaten government shutdowns of Planned Parenthood.  Conservatives pay the bills already incurred.

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