Debt Ceiling Could Batter Social Security

Now that the midterms have ended, a battle over the nation’s debt ceiling will start anew. According to the House Committee on the Budget, the vote on the ceiling will need to happen before mid-January. If the figure, which is $31.4 trillion, does not go up then, payments to Social Security will be in jeopardy.

The Social Security Administration has estimated that it will “run out of money” as early as 2032. This does not mean payments will drop to zero for over 60 million Americans. It does mean their payments will be reduced. This problem is worsened because inflation has already eroded the value of payments, dropping the spending power of many of America’s senior citizens.

Republicans in Congress have begun to use Social Security payments as leverage. The national debt does not have to be increased early next year if Social Security payments are cut. According to The Hill, “This is by no means the first time that Republicans have engaged in this hostage-taking tactic to get their hands on Social Security. Republicans tried the same play in 2011 and 2013.”

As Republicans have taken a slight majority in the House of Representatives, they can renew the battle over the debt ceiling issue for the first time in over two years. Their chance of winning the fight in the Senate remains failure low, but the need for a compromise is not out of the question.

If the debt ceiling’s effects on Social Security are not a problem now, they will be if Republicans take the Presidency, the House, and the Senate. As of today, that could well happen. Social Security, at that point, could be in trouble.

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