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View Diary: New report highlights inequality in the Social Security debate (43 comments)

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  •  Our current COLA gave me (7+ / 0-)

    $10/month raise.  Chained CPI wouldn't take that much from me $wise, but I don't have enough anyway.  This doesn't make sense on so many levels.  Social Security doesn't add to the deficit, so that's no answer.  The money not given out can't go to the economy; normally that extra dollar or two would be spent already.  The only thing I can come up with is that the well heeled in this country (mainly DLC Democrats) use this as bait to the Republicans to come to some Grand Bargain.  They know that raising the Medicare retirement age (or Social Security age) will raise holy hell, but changing to the Chained CPI won't cause most Democrats to object, while giving cover to the President that he is willing to compromise to the "intransigent Republicans".  Thus the change to the Chained CPI is preordained to a large extent.

    •  Bait it is (3+ / 0-)
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      maryabein, Creosote, musiccitymollie

      Reform it is not.  So what I see happening is that they use this for bait and then bargain away the eligibility ages next.  All it does is signal to Republicans that they'll be willing to go a lot farther.  

      It's about as cynical as it gets.  

      It's a trust breaker for me.  I think we're seeing an end of a commitment to middle class retirement security.  

    •  The big problem is that the current COLA (7+ / 0-)

      for Social Security doesn't factor in the actual inflation experienced by seniors whose actual costs aren't factored in.  Seniors spend more on health care and prescriptions than the general population and those costs re increasing vastly higher than the general inflation rate.

      Even with the regular COLA in place and unaffected by Chained CPI, seniors keep on getting poorer as their SS checks don't keep up with their costs.  Every year, seniors keep getting poorer even BEFORE Chained CPI.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 12:59:17 PM PDT

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      •  Medicare Premiums more than Med Inflation (1+ / 0-)
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        You are right that the current CPI measure doesn't properly track retiree out of pocket costs for medical care.

        But the bigger hit is the increase in Part B Medicare premiums which have the same fixed amount per beneficiary and so HAMMER folk on smaller SS checks. In some cases wiping out the COLA altogether.

        That is the current COLA formula screws upper end SS beneficiaries a certain amount by reducing their percentage (and Chained CPI makes that worse) but lower end beneficiaries take that tiny nominal reduction from the CPI differential (because their checks are smaller to start with) with a huge relative whack due to flat rate increases in Medicare premiums.

        The operative principle seeming to be:

        "Kick Poorer Olds. Because Why Not?" - SocSec.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

        by Bruce Webb on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 03:51:18 PM PDT

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        •  The ACA has been chipping away (0+ / 0-)

          at health care costs, although the biggest savings will come in 2014 as the exchanges come on line and less people are without coverage (lessening cost shifting to paying/insured patient bills).  

          However, bigger savings could be realized if we could rein in drug prices.  Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices the same way the VA does would really impact insurance costs overall.

          Before Social Security, seniors were one of the poorest groups of Americans.  It looks like we're heading back to the bad old days.

          There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

          by Puddytat on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 08:01:08 PM PDT

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    •  This is what one Republican Senator, (5+ / 0-)

      who as is shown was unnamed, told an NBC News reporter yesterday:

      According to one senior Republican senator who spoke with NBC News, Obama said, "I can't provide the cover to get entitlement reform done without revenue."
      The senator called this the "overriding theme" of the meeting, adding “To get really hard things done the president has to lead. He gets that, but he gets that in the context of, 'I have to lead, but you have to give me some things that I can say were victories.'"
      The quote is from an article on the NBC News site----here's the link.  Reading that made me feel sick.  This is about "providing cover" for a Democratic President to weaken the Big Three.  I'm not at all sure that those desiring to do this care if they do raise Holy Hell among the citizens.  I don't think we're even on their radar any longer.

      "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

      by 3goldens on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 01:09:32 PM PDT

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      •  Can't stop him from "reforming" (6+ / 0-)

        Just today he says:

        And that’s why I’m reaching out to Republicans and Democrats to come together around a balanced approach, a smart, phased-in approach to deficit reduction that includes smart spending cuts and entitlement reforms and new revenue, and that won’t hurt our middle class or slow economic growth.
        So he's still deliberately lying.  The Chained CPI has the lower end of the middle class squarely in its target.  He is very deliberately hurting middle class seniors.  He isn't reforming anything.  
        •  Exactly! And when on the White House (7+ / 0-)

          website somebody (Gene Sperling?) had the audacity to dub Chained CPI as "Superlative CPI" (or wording similar to that), I almost couldn't believe my eyes.  This twisting of language is something I would expect from Republicans----NOT a Democratic administration.  It's a cheap trick and disgusting.

          "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

          by 3goldens on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 02:15:18 PM PDT

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          •  'Superlative' is just textbook econ talk (6+ / 0-)

            for Chained-CPI. Per Dean Baker, who is as good on this topic as it can get.

            On the other hand even though the term wasn't invented by this White House, nobody made them pull the term out of those obscure textbook and journal articles and try to sell it to the American people.

            So yeah it is a cheap trick. Just not as cheap as it first appears.

   - SocSec.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

            by Bruce Webb on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:24:09 PM PDT

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          •  3g, this term was actually 'coined' during the (3+ / 0-)

            Bush administration--2002, if my memory serves me correctly.

            I linked to a resource on this last week in a diary I posted (elsewhere).  

            But, no doubt the Administration probably believes that 'it sounds more appealing, or less threatening.' ;-)


            "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson


            by musiccitymollie on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 11:02:37 AM PDT

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          •  Sperling knows it's a cut (0+ / 0-)

            In his AMA this week, he insists that they will use some of the "savings" to protect some of the people affected:

            [–]GeneSperling[S] 15 points 3 days ago
            The cost of living question relates to how the government measures inflation. Today, we use a measure of inflation called the “CPI” or consumer price index. An alternative would be to switch to what is known as the superlative or “chained” CPI. The superlative CPI makes two technical corrections to the standard CPI: it accounts for consumers’ ability to substitute between goods in response to changes in relative prices and accounts for biases arising from small samples. Most experts agree that the Superlative CPI provides a more accurate measure of the average change in the cost of living than the standard CPI.
            The President would prefer to have this adjustment in the context of a larger Social Security reform, but he has said to Speaker Boehner that if it is part of a larger agreement that would include tax reform that would raise revenue by cutting loopholes and expenditures from the most well off, that he would be willing to agree to it because in divided government, if we’re going to make progress, we have to be willing to compromise. One important note: any agreement to make this change to the CPI must include a dedication of a portion of the savings to protections for low-income Americans, certain veterans, and older Social Security beneficiaries. Our current offer which reduces the deficit by $230 billion over the next 10 years includes those protections.

            We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

            by Urban Owl on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 02:13:38 PM PDT

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      •  While I'm aghast that a Democrat (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        would be arguing for Social Security cuts, and I know that President Obama has been pushing this for some time, could we please not take Republicans at face value?  

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