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Debt Debate Hits Home on High Desert


As the U.S. government gets closer to defaulting on its loans, many people living on Social Security checks are wondering about their next payday.

If no compromise on the debt ceiling comes by Aug. 2, Social Security checks and military pay may be put on hold.

Several Central Oregonians said Wednesday if they do not get the money, they will not be able to pay their bills.

“We can’t go out there and make more money and there’s not jobs out there in the first place,” said Peggy Garcia of Bend. “Even if I went out and tried to go to work, who’s going to hire somebody that’s 75 years old?”

After working in a doctor’s office for 25 years, Garcia has been retired for six years. She said after the stock market took a huge hit in 2008, she doesn’t have a lot of options left.

“I had to do a reverse mortgage on my house to supplement the income because I lost so much money in the stock market,” Garcia said. “So where we go from there?”

Garcia said she thinks it is ridiculous that congressional leaders are not doing the job she hired them to do, but they are still getting paid. After years of hard work, her paycheck may be in question.

“If I had a choice, I would fire them all!” said Garcia. “I’d give them term limits so they can’t be in there for more than eight years.”

Another person worried not just about himself but the people he works with is Bend retiree Robert Cusick. If a debt ceiling compromise is not reached, many of those depending on military checks may be left with an empty bank account.

“If the people don’t get their Social Security paychecks, they (members of Congress) should not get theirs,” Cusick said. “Because they’re actually our employees. If the boss doesn’t get paid, the employees don’t get paid.”

After 23 years of military work, Cusick has retired and spends many of his days at the VFW, giving back to veterans.

“The Social Security is not the government’s funds,” said Cusick. “It’s the funds you and I paid in, so we have something to retire on.”

Wednesday was the fourth day congressional leaders met and still have not found a solution. The livelihood of many people remains in question, as the clock continues to count down on the deadline.

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