Originally Published: June 9, 2013 6 a.m.
For those of us who are not familiar with "chained CPI" (Consumer Price Index), it is a bureaucratic twist to cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) designed to confuse the public. Like "cloture" is the new word for "filibuster" these days. Chained CPI, if some politicians have their way, is merely a power play to change and cut by 0.3 percent the formula that is used to decide how seniors, vets and disadvantage receive COLA and Social Security benefits by measuring inflation and price changes. The sum 0.3 percent sounds harmless but, over time, it will cost retirees, disabled vets and the most vulnerable thousands of dollars. It is cruel political strategy to implement cuts to Social Security and balance the budget on the backs of seniors, disabled veterans and the poor who count on cost-of-living raises each year and social security checks every month (www.aarp.org/support).
As we speak, the majority of senior incomes are stretched extremely thin with large portions spent on inflated prices for prescription drugs and health care, not included in the calculation of CPI, which raised the question, why cut COLA when it should be raised? Granted, no program is perfect and needs changing to fit the needs of the people, but when Wall Street billionaires agree, my ears perk up (Washington Times, Sanders, March 25). There are fair and honest ways to adjust CPI to benefit everyone, not just some.
Before Social Security and COLA was enacted, seniors were left to fend for themselves in poverty or cared for by their children. Today, seniors are thriving and an important lifeline to their families, businesses and communities through volunteering of skills, education and experience. All they want, as most Americans want, a safe, stable and a sense of fairness as they face retirement. And all of the above is in short supply.