The federal budget process is very complex.

The bottom line is that expenses are exceeding revenue by an incredible amount; with more money than any of us can imagine.

You can't run a household budget like this. You can't run a business like this. You can't run government like this and expect a country to survive.

But it seems that's the only way people know how to live today – including our elected officials, many of whom would rather play party politics over the wishes of their constituents. For years they seemed to be ignorant of the fact that the nation's debt was growing and growing. The debt clock we keep seeing has more digits than most of us can comprehend.

Now politicians are taking notice.

President Obama stated that unless the national debt is increased, senior citizens might be in jeopardy of their Social Security checks and Medicare insurance.

Is he being truthful or using seniors as pawns in a political chess game against the Republicans?

Whatever the case, if the politics of this budget battle keeps Social Security checks from being sent out, many who are living paycheck to paycheck will suffer. It's their money. It's like your bank telling you, if you're retired, that you're not entitled to your retirement fund income, or like your boss telling you that you won't be getting a paycheck.

The consequences of holding up even one Social Security check will be catastrophic since this is the only source of income for many seniors.

While the politicians keep saying what cuts they're favoring, never once have we heard them talk about pay cuts, or about eliminating some of those costly perks. How about cutting their personal physicians or eliminating their private gym, which looks like something out of an exclusive country club? Why not pension cuts for themselves, or reducing their expense accounts.

We rarely hear politicians wanting to cut the budget pork, since so many use their own pet projects to boost sagging poll numbers or re-election campaigns.

The rhetoric about stopping Social Security payments is dangerous. Doing this would be nothing less than disastrous for millions of Americans on fixed income.

It appears that voters still have work to do in giving Washington back to the people, even after last year's mid-term elections which saw many long-term lawmakers booted out of office.

Stopping Social Security payments is just too scary to imagine. Many will lose their homes. Many will go hungry. That sounds more like a third world country than a nation once thought to be the most prosperous and the envy of the world.

One thing for sure is that Washington politicians never have to live with the prospect of losing their homes, going hungry, losing medical coverage, or living a pension check to pension check existence like many of their constituents.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com