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We've been told recently that the switch to Chained CPI will 'strengthen' the program for future retirees.  Wondering exactly what in this program will 'strengthen' Social Security, I went to the google and snooped around.  Here's what I found:

{{crickets}}

Every formulation of this puts 100% of the savings toward deficit reduction.  Period.  Someone has to pay for those Bush tax cuts, unfunded wars and defense contractors and it looks like it'll be the elderly for generations to come.  

Here's what I've located from numerous sources:

NPR:

If the government switched to chained CPI for cost-of-living adjustments, Social Security payments and other benefits would grow more slowly. And tax revenues would go up, because parts of the tax code are also indexed to inflation.

Goldwein, who worked for the Simpson-Bowles commission, estimates that the switch would shave more than $200 billion off the deficit over the next decade. Because most of those savings would come in later years, it wouldn't be an immediate drag on the economy.

"Given that the economy is still weak, we don't want massive amounts of deficit reduction right now," Goldwein says. "That's the whole reason we're avoiding the 'fiscal cliff.' It's too much deficit reduction too fast. The chained CPI is the best of all worlds, because it gives you a credible way to reduce future deficits but with barely any effect in the short term."

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
The change needs to apply to both benefit programs and the tax code, and the proceeds from applying the chained CPI to the tax code should go entirely for deficit reduction. Using some or all of those proceeds to finance a reduction in tax rates should not be acceptable.
Senate Republican Policy Committee

Titled "Better Inflation Measure Would Reduce Deficit"

Chained CPI – A Deficit Reduction Option

These two measures have several problems that overestimate inflation. First, they assume that consumers purchase the same basket of goods, regardless of what happens to prices. So if the price of muffins increases, they don’t consider that some consumers will switch to toast. Second, they can’t easily deal with the introduction of new products. Third, they can’t measure product quality. A product may cost the same as it did five years ago, but it could be of a much higher quality.

To address the problems with the traditional CPI measures, BLS in 2002 introduced “chained-CPI,” which is a modified version of CPI-U. Chained-CPI is meant to more closely measure cost of living. By switching to chained-CPI in calculating both federal benefits and tax brackets, we could reduce the deficit by $200 billion over the next 10 years.

NPR again:
Still, supporters of chained CPI say when it comes to deficit reduction, this is low-hanging fruit. And that takes us back to the produce section and Goldwein.

"We need something like $4 [trillion] or $5 trillion in deficit reduction to get our debt on a downward path. And we need it desperately," he said. "And that means — guess what? — Medicare and Social Security benefits are going to have to go down. People are going to have to start paying more in taxes. We're going to have to make some really tough choices.

The dopes at the  AEI:

Titled: The Chained CPI: A Path to Bipartisan Deficit Reduction

By indexing tax brackets more slowly, a switch to the chained CPI would increase revenue. By reducing the COLA for federal benefit programs, the switch would also reduce benefit outlays. Both the revenue increase and benefit reduction would lower the deficit. In its most recent survey of deficit reduction options, the Congressional Budget Office presented budgetary estimates for a switch to the chained CPI and summarized the policy arguments for and against that change. Based on its expectation that the chained CPI will increase 0.25 percent per year more slowly than the CPI-U and the CPI-W in upcoming years, the CBO estimated that a switch would increase income tax revenue by $72 billion, reduce Social Security benefits by $112 billion, and reduce federal pensions and veterans' benefits by $24 billion from fiscal 2012 through 2021.7
Even the White House agrees:
"The only plan that we have seen that achieves the size and the balance that's required for sustainable — for long-term deficit reduction and for putting our economy on a sustainable fiscal path, is the president's," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at a briefing.
And you have to wonder if this isn't the end of granny starving - from the same link:
Given the pressing timetable, the two men are hoping to set the broad parameters of an agreement while taking care of urgent business like extending tax cuts for most earners, preventing sharp cuts in Medicare physician payments, and making sure millions of taxpayers don't get struck by the alternative minimum tax.

The idea is that other steps, like overhauling the tax code and additional cuts to popular programs like Medicare would take more time and be fleshed out next year.

Reducing the deficit is indeed a noble goal, but I fail to see how this plan does anything at all to 'strengthen' Social Security.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

    by Dem Beans on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:52:37 PM PST

  •  I think it has something to do with... (6+ / 0-)

    the rich getting confident and trickling down nice safe minimum wage jobs on the poor seniors who will need to supplement their incomes.

    /snark

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:55:02 PM PST

    •  Free Market Competition, Doncya Know? (4+ / 0-)

      Hell can't have all those good McDonald and WalMart jobs go to the kids can we?  Next thing you know the young wippersnappers might get the idea of a livable wage.  No better to flood the market with people desperate for jobs and money so that our Masters of the Universe can "earn" all their money.

      Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

      by howd on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:14:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It will strengthen Social Security the way that (5+ / 0-)

    eliminating Social Security altogether will. Remember: Something that doesn't exist can't cost any money.

  •  Another way to strengthen SS: Kill everyone on SS (5+ / 0-)

    That will strengthen the fuck out of SS.

    And Medicare - wow! I think I just solved just about every problem we've ever had! I better fucking trademark this!

    •  they won't eliminate those programs (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dem Beans, lostinamerica, kurt

      just restructure them so that all your tax money flows into private hands rather than into government services.

      The individual mandate in the ACA is the model for this kind of philosophy. For the first time, SCOTUS has ruled that the government is constitutionally permitted to pass laws that force individuals to purchase products from private entities.

      This is the project that will be pursued with gusto over the next four years, turning each New Deal government into its bizarro privatized twin.

      We will have a bizarro Social Security, which sends your payroll taxes to private retirement insurance corporations, and a bizarro Medicare, which sends your Medicare taxes to private health insurance, and ad infinitum. All the while telling you that you'll be better off than you were when the government ran those programs.

      Then at some point they'll tire of the charade and just take your money by force. But that's still a few years off.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:32:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, that's not what the court ruled (0+ / 0-)

        The court actually ruled the mandate impermissible under the commerce clause, so the government can't force individuals to purchase products--Roberts joined the conservatives to make that ruling, then determined that since the government has the power to tax, and it has the power to use tax money to pay for health insurance, and since the mandate is enforce via IRS income tax penalty, the mandate is permissible as, effectively, a tax.

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 07:34:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  the 1% never gave a shit about deficit reduction (6+ / 0-)

    when Clinton built up a budget surplus, they started complaining about how that would hurt the economy and then suggested that he spend that surplus on tax cuts.

    Then when Bush came in and spent all that money (and more) on tax cuts plus his wars, they were all mum. It was unpatriotic to question his decisions.

    Now a Democrat is in power and suddenly they've found religion again on the deficit. What's more, they've got Obama even more gung-ho than Clinton was about deficit reduction, except that he's going one step further and pushing for cuts in Social Security--even though, as he has publicly said--SS has nothing to do with the deficit!

    Deficit reduction is important--when the economy is humming and you can build a surplus through progressive taxation. And yes, it is important to make government programs more efficient and to get rid of those that have become obsolete.

    But cutting Social Security has fuck-all to do with any of that!

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:09:51 PM PST

  •  All that I see is: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dem Beans, lostinamerica, kurt
    reduce Social Security benefits by $112 billion, and reduce federal pensions and veterans' benefits by $24 billion from fiscal 2012 through 2021
    $136 billion out of our pockets and into deficit reduction, which a fiscally irresponsible Congress or White House could spend on a whim—or another war or two.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:16:03 PM PST

    •  And IIRC SS is supposed to be separate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dem Beans, lostinamerica

      from the general fund, meaning that they're planning to take money paid into SS and pay down the deficit with it. No?

      "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

      by sceptical observer on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:18:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pretty much. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sceptical observer

        That's been the Republican's stated objective, though they'd much rather funnel it directly in the pockets of Wall Street--this way they would be doing it indirectly, unless of course they could find another war to get into so they could funnel it directly into the pockets of their buddies in the M.I.C.

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 07:38:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Chained CPI (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dem Beans, lostinamerica, kurt, catfishbob

    My husband worked for SSA for over twenty years.  Social Security is not a part of the general budget.  The trust funds are compiled of FICA collected from salaries.  IRS collects these taxes because SSA is not a law enforcement agency.  The government can borrow against the trust funds but they have to issue interest bearing US Savings Bonds to make sure that the trust stays intact.  The trust is not a part of the deficit.  It never has been.  It does not contribute to the deficit.  That is a favorite conservative myth because they want to take the trust and privatize it for their own benefit.

    Social Security COLAs are currently determined by the CPI-W.  The CPI-W ostensibly tracks what it costs for "a basket" full of food and services for urban wage earners and clerical employees.  Even taking that into account my COLA for this year was only $10.00.  Wonder if that will pay off the old mortgage?

    The chained CPI is much more restrictive.  If I could afford to eat steak right now and the price of steak rose due to inflation I would switch to a cheaper alternative.  Instead of reflecting the inflation of my basket of food and services as it exists in the real world, the chained CPI would reflect the cost of what I had to reduce my spending to in order to survive.  My COLA based on that would go down.  This would continue every year as  I got older and needed more help. I would get less.  So would the veterans and civil servants and others who depended on the chained CPI to determine their COLAs.

    This would do nothing to cut the deficit or curb government spending in other areas.  It is simply another way  to give  us the shaft  think that we won't understand what they're doing.

    I have spent two days calling, petitioning, and mailing both the White House and my Senators and Representatives aware of these facts.  This  included Nancy Pelosi whose staffer got furious with me when I would not accept that use of the chained CPI would not result in lower benefits and a ton of suffering for those of us who had paid into social security and other pensions for our entire working lives.

    I do not know what Obama is thinking.  I was afraid he might repeat his actions of 2009 an 2010 even as I voted for him, but look at the alternative.  Now, like many Americans I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.  They should simply let go of their "fiscal cliff" until after the next congress is seated.  The Bush tax cuts could then expire and the Republicans could attempt to live in reality like the rest of us.

    Sorry for the long post and thank you for your patience in reading it.

    Agita

    •  The denial is astounding, isn't it? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lostinamerica, kurt
      This  included Nancy Pelosi whose staffer got furious with me when I would not accept that use of the chained CPI would not result in lower benefits and a ton of suffering for those of us who had paid into social security and other pensions for our entire working lives.
      Of course it's a cut.  The numbers that are noted above as 'savings' reflect the amount that will be withheld from people who have paid into the system their entire working lives.  If it wasn't a cut, why would they do it at all?

      I liked your post a lot - good info.  Thanks.

      you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

      by Dem Beans on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:47:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dems are lying now just like Repubs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dem Beans

    It's gotten that bad.  The Democratic Party is lying just like Republicans.  And then the DCCC has the nerve to send me an email looking for money to help them push this through.  Hey DCCC, fuck you!

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 03:48:43 AM PST

  •  No. SATSQ. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dem Beans

    "Strengthening SS" is a Republican meme from the Bush years, and anybody who pulls it out of his/her ass is a DINO.

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