South MS seniors talk possible halt to social security payments

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Thursday afternoon, the White House and Republicans began a fifth round of negotiations on raising the national debt ceiling. Earlier in the day, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid echoed President Obama's warning that if no deal is reached by August 2, Social Security checks may not be in the mail on August 3rd.

Some South Mississippi senior citizens are unhappy about the stalemate in Washington. When news broke at the Long Beach Senior Center that next month's social security checks may not be coming, the mood changed dramatically.

"They're making big bucks up there," Cathy Diliberto said. "Obama and all them they're not going to have to worry about it when they become a senior citizen."

People said they worked hard nearly all their lives while paying into the Social Security system.

"It's going to impact people that count on it," Kathy Wales said. "Most of the elderly people, that's the only way that they can pay their rent and eat. If people don't get their checks, what are they going to do?"

Many seniors wondered how the US government would be able to justify spending on foreign aid and pet projects, if it can't make social security payments during this financial crisis.

"They need to quit doing some of these studies on all them little projects they have, like for a bug or how many shrimp," said Savanas Webb. "Save that money and quit giving it away."

Others said don't worry. It's all part of the political game.

"I'm not worried about it," Barbara Garrett said. "It's happened before that they've said that. They [checks] have gone out, and I think they will this time."

"Saying they're going to cut us out is going to get us screaming and call our people and make them compromise," Sheryl Allen said. "Raising that debt limit is wrong."

Democratic leaders said veterans' benefits, disability payments and paychecks for troops would also be in jeopardy if there isn't a compromise. President Barack Obama now says he wants a deal reached by Friday.

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