Expand Social Security

The Cost of Living (Jason Webley album)

The Cost of Living (Jason Webley album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rather than cut benefits to the elderly under a chained CPI, it is time to consider expanding Social Security by calculating annual benefit increases using CPI-E, an expanded CPI, CPI for the elderly that calculates the true cost of living for actual, living and breathing human beings. The cost of living increase for 2014 is only 1.5% when food, medical expenses and insurance are up at double-digit rates. I would finance expanded Social Security by means of a Robin Hood tax on financial transactions. Wall Street is setting new highs. Let those who can afford to pay a bit more in taxes help those who cannot.

Minimum wage

US Minimum wage laws, from Image:Blank_US_Map.svg

US Minimum wage laws, from Image:Blank_US_Map.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

President Obama has proposed raising the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour. I support the proposal, although I think that a higher, living wage that accounts for different regional costs of living would be better. The higher minimum wage would make life easier for the working poor and it would lift all boats by raising the entire pay scale for everyone. It would not decrease employment significantly.

Members of the GOP oppose a minimum wage increase for several reasons:

During periods of full employment, which is not the case now, a higher minimum wage would add to inflationary pressures.
They don’t care about the working poor.
Profits and possibly stock prices might be decreased, leading to lower bonuses for the CEOs of large corporations who are the people the GOP do care about.

The GOP should support a higher minimum wage since it would allow a portion of the 47% not currently paying income tax to start paying income tax on their higher take home pay. After all, Mitt Romney and others want more people to pay income taxes, but not higher taxes on members of the 1%.

Chained wages

"Wake Up Walmart Campaign" requestin...

“Wake Up Walmart Campaign” requesting additional wages. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once upon a time, American workers earned enough in wages to afford to purchase goods and services produced in America by American workers. Those days began to end in the 1980s. Americans began the long, slow decline in our standard of living by downsizing our expectations and our purchases, substituting cheaper goods where possible and borrowing against our paper assets in the stock market and our homes when we resisted downsizing. That is an example of chained wages, where wages do not keep up with the cost of living. Borrowing against our paper assets came to a screeching halt in 2007 at the beginning of the Great Recession.

Now some in Washington are advocating a chained CPI, a way to refigure and reduce the annual cost of living increase for retirees and other recipients of so-called “entitlements.” Using the rationale that less income will force Americans to further downsize our purchases, proponents of a chained CPI want us to substitute pet food for human food and later substitute no food for pet food. Instead of American made durable goods, we are expected to substitute Chinese made not-very durable goods retailed by big-box discounters. The current government calculated COLA adjustment to entitlement programs is totally inadequate. To reduce it further in order to save the 1% from paying additional taxes is a high crime and misdemeanor truly worthy of impeachment of any legislator who supports it.

Guilt

Benefit Security Card .. HALF of the U.S live ...

Benefit Security Card .. HALF of the U.S live in households that receive government benefits (26 May 2012) …item 2.. Brevard man gets 4 years in Social Security fraud case (Jun 1, 2012 ) … (Photo credit: marsmet481)

If the Bush era tax cuts are reversed only for those earning over $400,000 or for those earning more than $1,000,000 at the expense of recipients of Social Security, I hope that at least some of those earning more than $250,000 and less than $400,000 or whatever the final number happens to be, will feel some guilt at retaining their tax breaks. The current way of calculating Social Security’s annual cost of living adjustment is grossly inadequate. To reduce that amount on a technicality by using a chained CPI is an insult and an embarrassment. I have read that President Obama may agree to it as the least bad compromise to be had. If true, I hope that the 2014 election will change Congress enough to allow a more equitable calculation of future Social Security cost of living adjustments.

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