When Glen Cove resident Daniel Kaplan dips into his account this month, he can take comfort knowing his Social Security check has cleared.
Next time, the 68-year-old may not be so lucky.
Between sips of coffee at the , Kaplan said it would be disastrous if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling and stops sending retirement checks to seniors.
“You have to look at where you’re making expense reductions," he said. "You don’t want to cut out somebody’s only means to eat.”
With Social Security checks and veterans' benefits on the line, the U.S. government is struggling to reach an agreement on a deficit reduction deal by Aug. 2.
On May 16, the United States hit the federal debt ceiling, or the cap set by Congress on the amount the government is able to borrow in the debt markets, of $14.294 trillion. Since, Democrats and Republicans have failed to reach an agreement on debt-controlling measures.
Republicans refuse to consider raising taxes as part of a debt ceiling deal, while Democrats haven’t budged on a deal that involves not raising taxes and cuts government aid spending.
“One of the most important things in the world of finance is that the U.S. doesn’t default on its debt,” Kaplan said. “If you default on debt, and don’t raise the ceiling, the world’s economic system could collapse.”
Brad Beavers, 30, a newcomer to Glen Cove, said he is following the debt ceiling debate.
“It concerns me that our government is on the verge of defaulting on our debt,” Beavers said. “The world economy is so fragile right now that if the U.S. defaults on our debts, the world economy will destabilize even more.”
The debt ceiling is definitely a cause for concern, said Beavers, who said the problem is that Democrats and Republicans are pointing fingers at who to blame instead of actually solving this crisis.
“I do think it’s responsible for Republicans to refuse raising taxes," he said. Our tax dollars didn't put us in this crisis. "Our spending habits did."
, a resident and chief executive of Hour.ly, an online employment network, said the implications of a bill not being passed are dire, for both his family and business.
"If the U.S. government does not have the ability to borrow and meet its financial obligations, the system would effectively grind to a halt," Dixon said. "Anyone who has ever worked a real job, or run a business knows that you cannot fix anything by throwing more money at a problem."
Like Kaplan, Dixon says it is not responsible for Republicans to refuse to raise taxes.
"While it would be great if none of us had to pay taxes, the reality is that to get our debt under control, we are going to have to dig deep as a country," Dixon said. "Holding the country hostage over an ideology is just as irresponsible as spending money that we don't have."