Weather-Related Disclaimer: missives from legislators concerning road conditions, although timely and important, should be considered snapspots in time. For the most recent travel information, please consult MoDOT's Web site at

except when the post starts "MO Expat", all content published on Missives from Missouri is written and supplied by the noted legislator. Said missives will not necessarily reflect the views of Kyle Hill, the operator of Missives from Missouri, and as such the operator does not assume responsibility for its content. More information
Share this missive:

28 July 2011

Lichtenegger: Social Security and the Federal Budget, DNR Resources and Information

IMPORTANT Legislative Update

Most citizens do not realize the complexity of the federal Social Security system. You can visit the U.S. Treasury website and read about Social Security and the Federal Budget and learn about how the funds are obtained, handled and distributed. However, what you’ll not read are the details of what money is available for the government to continue to distribute the Social Security checks as usual. I wanted you to read the below article by Stanford Law Professor, Michael McConnell, as an incentive to call your U.S. Representative (Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson for most readers) and encourage them to put the pressure on the Administration to stop threatening to withhold funds due our senior citizens. Politics has its place, but it is not in the pockets of the elderly.

Contrary to Obama’s Scare Tactics, Social Security Checks are Not at Risk

The PJ Tatler ^ | July 23, 2011 | Belladonna Rogers

Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 9:48:40 PM by 2ndDivisionVet

In a clearly written analysis on the website of Stanford’s Hoover Institution, Stanford Law Professor Michael McConnell, the director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center and a Hoover senior fellow, corrects the president’s groundless threats:

In his Friday night press conference, for the second time, President Obama raised the specter that Social Security checks might not go out if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling. His words: “Well, when it comes to all the checks, not just Social Security — veterans, people with disabilities — about 70 million checks are sent out each month — if we default then we’re going to have to make adjustments. And I’m already consulting with Secretary Geithner in terms of what the consequences would be.” Earlier he said in an interview on CBS News: “I cannot guarantee that those [Social Security] 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.”

He must not be consulting with his lawyers, because this attempt to scare Social Security recipients is without legal foundation.

As recently explained in much more detail by legal scholars Mark Scarberry and Nancy Altman, and by the aptly-named Thomas Saving, a former public trustee of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds, in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, reaching the debt ceiling will not affect the ability of the Social Security Administration to pay its obligations.

The Social Security trust fund holds about $2.4 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds, which its trustees are legally entitled to redeem whenever Social Security is running a current account deficit. Thus, if we reach the debt ceiling (which I continue to think is a remote prospect, even if less remote than it seemed a week ago), this is what will happen. The Social Security trust fund will go to Treasury and cash in some of its securities, using the proceeds to send checks to recipients. Each dollar of debt that is redeemed will lower the outstanding public debt by a dollar. That enables the Treasury to borrow another dollar, without violating the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is not a prohibition on borrowing new money; it is a prohibition on increasing the total level of public indebtedness. If Social Security cashes in some of its bonds, the Treasury can borrow that same amount of money from someone else.

To be sure, a small portion of the money due from Treasury to the trust fund on the bonds is accrued interest. Payment of this portion will not have an effect on the debt ceiling, because the ceiling is calculated according to amount borrowed, not amount to be paid. That amount, however, is too trivial to affect the bottom line. Interest rates are low, and interest was last paid at the end of June.

President Obama is therefore wrong when he says that failure to raise the debt ceiling might result in not sending out Social Security checks. Many bad things might happen, but not that.

Now that I’ve spoken my peace, let’s continue with our series on Missouri State Departments.

Knowing Your Missouri State Departments: #1 Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

#1.3 Resources and Information

The Department of Natural Resources –as with all state departments- has a mission statement which is “to protect, preserve and enhance Missouri's natural, cultural and energy resources. The department serves all the state's citizens through its involvement in environmental and resource-related issues of the day. The department deals with the critical area of energy; helps develop mineral resources in an environmentally safe manner; protects Missouri's land, air and water resources; and works to preserve the state's historic and natural heritage through state parks and state historic sites.”

To fulfill their mission they provide a variety of services to Missourians and other state departments, plus they work closely with the “matching” federal departments to ensure that natural state resources are developed and preserved. One of its finest avenues for meeting its obligation is through DNR Publications. Link to the webpage at left and you’ll find annual reports, permit manuals, fact sheets, brochures and much more. Be sure to use the drop-down menu to find your subject of interest.

Their Missouri Resources magazine (the hyperlink to the left is the magazine index) is published three times a year and is available to Missourians free of charge. Clink on the pictures below to view those issues:

Summer 2011 issue                                                Winter 2011 issue

A Regional Offices Map can assist you in locating any DNR services anywhere in the state. And the following link is to local information for Cape Girardeau and Perry Counties: (South) East Missouri Action Agency, Inc.

If you are in need of contact information for a variety of resources & information link below left to the DNR Directory of Services. For example if you are a school teacher and want to order educational materials for teaching soil and water conservation look up the contact information for Envirothon. And if you or someone you know, say in Joplin, has been a victim of a natural disaster you’ll want a contact list (link below right) that will help you zero in on the exact division to contact for your particular situation.

And there is assistance and information available for homeowners: link here for home Weatherization Assistance!

Teachers can order a variety of Educational Resources to enhance your classroom teaching.

Miscellaneous Notes

If you missed receiving the July 14 and/ or July 21, Capitol Report #1.1 DNR Overview and #1.2 State Parks and Historical Sites and would like a copy please contact me via email.

No comments:

Post a Comment