Call it the Audacity of Demagoguery. The president threatens to withhold Social Security checks, thus coming down from the mountaintop of "centrism,' to play the oldest and most cynical card of the left: scaring Granny. Obama knows perfectly well that the government would be able to issue the checks even if the debt ceiling isn't raised, but hopes to raise political pressure on the GOP by frightening millions of senior citizens who are reliant on the checks, and in so doing, exposes the ugly side of the welfare state: make millions of Americans dependent on government and then hold them hostage when it is in your political interest.
President Obama on Tuesday said he cannot guarantee that retirees will receive their Social Security checks August 3 if Democrats and Republicans in Washington do not reach an agreement on reducing the deficit in the coming weeks.
"I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it," Mr. Obama said in an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley, according to excerpts released by CBS News.