Mark S. Scarberry, professor of law, recently published an article in the Huffington Post with Huffington Post Contributor Nancy Altman entitled “Disentangling Social Security from the Debt Ceiling.” The article details the ways that social security can continue to cut checks with or without an increase in the debt ceiling.
“The truth is that checks can go out, in their full amount, without adding a penny to the federal government's total debt," Scarberry and Altman write. "They can be paid without subtracting more than a tiny fraction of a percent -- if anything -- from the funds currently being used for other government purposes -- a reduction so small that it could be considered a rounding error.”
Scarberry and Altman assert that because the federal government is the plan sponsor, the president should be especially careful to act as a fiduciary. "In a recent press conference, the president stated that he wants Social Security to be part of a grand debt-limit bargain, because he wants to 'strengthen' it," they conclude. "We suggest that he first maintain it, allow it to pay all promised benefits (independent of what happens to the debt limit), and stop using it to scare the American people."
Scarberry graduated first in his class at UCLA Law School. He joined the Pepperdine Law faculty in 1982 after four years' practice experience with Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, Los Angeles. His major academic interests are bankruptcy (particularly Chapter 11 business reorganization), contracts, legal philosophy, election law, and constitutional law (particularly freedom of religion).