Chained CPI

English: In the United States, Social Security...

English: In the United States, Social Security benefits compared for younger vs. older workers. According to author Joseph Fried, this graphic uses information from: C. Eugene Steuerle and Adam Carasso, “The USA Today Lifetime Social Security and Medicare Benefits Calculator,” (Urban Institute, October 1, 2004), from: http://www.urban.org/publications/900746.html. Note: The calculator does not include the value or cost of the Social Security disability program. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We will shortly be hearing about chained CPI as a partial solution to supposed problems in Social Security. Chained CPI is a way to justify a lower cost of living increase in Social Security. In theory as prices rise, consumers will try to stretch their dollars by buying lower quality and less quantity. What is a consumer to do when he/she has already switched from national brands on sale to house brands? The future for many is pet food or starvation. Is that the future we want to condemn our elderly to?

Social Security was originally designed to lift senior citizens out of poverty. It succeeded in doing that for a while. Now the trend among some in Washington is to abandon the effort and to condemn retired seniors living on Social Security to a short, brutal retirement.

I know personally what the economy is doing to senior life. I partially retired at age 62 on reduced benefits and I retired completely 20 months ago. My wife and I are scraping by now as we try to cope with exploding food and insurance costs. We recently negotiated a reverse mortgage in order to keep our home. Therefore, there will be no equity in the home, built up over a lifetime, to pass along to our son.

The current Social Security CPI is inadequate and a chained CPI will be less adequate. The CPI used to calculate Social Security benefits should be weighted to give emphasis to where seniors spend their money: food, insurance, healthcare, housing and gas. I favor doubling current Social Security benefits. The money would be spent, not saved, and would give the economy an immediate boost. What this economy needs is more dollars in the hands of consumers, not in the hands of so-called job producers. A doubling of Social Security payments would also go a long way toward fulfilling Social Security’s original purpose of lifting seniors out of poverty.

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6 thoughts on “Chained CPI

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  4. Thanks for telling us about your situation. Passing on the fruits of our labor to our kids used to be part of the American dream. Now it’s a struggle just to survive, which is what this fight is about. This excessive trickle-down approach has put a bit too much emphasis on the Wall Street segment of the economy, to the detriment of mainstreet opportunity and security. You shouldn’t need a reverse mortgage to survive retirement.

    • I support Occupy Wall Street. I think that finance needs to be reduced to about half of the size it is now as a percentage of the economy. Thanks for your comments.

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