The Associated Press put out a story Tuesday afternoon by Darlene Superville, a more-than-competent reporter whom we know, headlined, "Job Cuts, No Social Security Checks: How consumers could be pinched by a US Government default." The story, which was unattributed, is what newsies call an "explainer" – it brings together a bunch of information in an attempt to present a comprehensive, understandable picture of a complex situation to readers and viewers.
It's no mystery where the doomsday scenario that led the story came from – if not the White House or Treasury, certainly Congressional Democrats. The story goes on to explain:
"Millions of people in the U.S. rely on benefits that could go unpaid and services that could be disrupted, or halted altogether, if the government can’t pay its bills for an extended period.
"If the economy tanked due to default, more than 8 million people could lose their jobs, government officials estimate. Millions of Social Security beneficiaries, veterans and military families could lose their monthly payments. Vital federal services including border and air traffic control could be disrupted if workers can’t get their government paychecks.
"The economy could nosedive into a recession."
The story goes on to present a pretty balanced explanation of the argument between the Republicans and the Democrats over the Budget and the national debt.
Count us among those who believe that this bit of political theater will be resolved at the last minute by a deal between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, and President Joe Biden, a Democrat. Both of them surely understand that if any of the doomsday scenarios occurred, people would rise up in anger and vote out nearly all incumbents at the next election.
How do we know? We remember when Rep. Danny Rostenkowski (D-Ill.), "the powerful chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee" endorsed a proposal to cut Social Security benefits back in the late 1980s. Rostenkowski was chased down Chicago streets by angry little old ladies the next week, and voted out of office after the next election.