In what appears to be lock-step with the Democratic talking points on Social Security as it relates to the debt ceiling crisis, CBS news anchor Bob Scheiffer made the rather brazen, and, rather inaccurate statement that millions of Americans "may not get their next [Social Security] check if the debt ceiling crisis is not resolved."
Now where have we heard that before? Earlier today, The Blaze reported that Rev. Al Sharpton went ballistic when he was criticized by a caller on his radio program for misleading the public to believe they might not receive their Social Security payments if the government defaults on its debts.
Now, ever the alarmist, Scheiffer has reportedly made the same assertions on air three separate times between July 22 and July 26.
Contrary to the CBS host's sky-is-falling rhetoric, however, NewsBusters alleges that there is enough federal revenues and authorized expenditures to pay for the entitlement:
Fear mongering notwithstanding, there is actually enough money to pay the checks to those who depend on Social Security. On July 8, The Weekly Standard cited a study from the Bipartisan Study Center which "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)."
But why let data like that get in the way of a good narrative?
Disregarding the numbers, Schieffer still forged ahead, delivering his questionable prediction during CBS' Early Show in which he said, "Every month, millions of Americans depend on Social Security to support their families and make ends meet. But now, they may not get their next check, if the debt ceiling crisis is not resolved."
If that were not enough, Scheiffer then compounded the disingenuous statement with a repeat performance the same day some ten hours later during the Evening News. While introducing correspondent Michelle Miller, Scheiffer opened:
"The late developments in Washington mean that a deal between Congress and the White House is now very much in doubt on the debt limit, and if the government does default, the people who rely on Social Security may end up being the first to get hurt. Here's Michelle Miller."
What follows is an arguably over-the-top set of stories laid on thick by Miller about the innocent seniors and children who, she alleges, will be the ones to "suffer" the fallout.
During her narrative, Miller talks about a senior citizen named "Mattie," who depends on government funded services to provide her meals at a local senior center. According to Miller, "now, her [Mattie's] most important daily meal could be on the chopping block." That most important "meal," of course, is Mattie's Social Security check.
But that's not all. Miller goes on to assert that "seniors aren't the only ones at risk. More than four million beneficiaries are children like ten-year-old Anthony Hines...."
Hines, as it turns out, reportedly has autism while his single mother, Claudia Pachon, relies on her $400 a month Social Security payment to help support her child.
Miller concludes the emotional segment by pulling at viewers' heart-strings one last time when she said:
"On August 3, Pachon, Jones, and 27 million other Americans could find the system they paid into does not have the money to pay them back."
It might be difficult for many to remember, let alone argue the facts with tears rolling down their faces. Is that maybe the whole point?
You can read the entire, rather dramatic transcript at NewsBusters.