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Yes, this is the thinnest diary of all time. It's because it's a poll. Daily Kos 4 (5? Which one is this? I mean the next one...) should have a separate poll feed or some such mechanism -- it would help reduce the number of "temperature-taking" diaries (which aren't limited to poll diaries, after all) clogging up the feed.

For more information on Chained CPI, click here.

Poll

Will Chained CPI for Social Security Benefit Calculation Get Passed Before December 31, 2013?

39%41 votes
60%63 votes

| 104 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:10:49 PM PST

  •  My brief addendum... (11+ / 0-)

    A little rule of thumb:

    When a politician says something and everyone cheers, and they keep saying it, be skeptical that they mean it. Maybe they do, maybe they don't.

    When a politician says something and everyone boos, and they keep saying it, trust that they mean it. They do.

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:19:58 PM PST

    •  Especially Early in the Election Cycle When it Wil (5+ / 0-)

      be 2 years before voters can punish them for bad policy.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:26:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The BTU Tax was passed by the House in 1993, but.. (0+ / 0-)

        ..the Senate wisely ignored it.

        Upshot?

        Even though it was never enacted, many Dems who lost their seats more than one year later blamed their vote on the BTU tax.

        If Dems do cut Social Security Benefits in 2013, we will lose at least 30 seats in 2014.

        http://articles.philly.com/...

        How Btu Tax Became The But Tax

        June 09, 1993

        What ever happened to the BTU tax? It's probably in the same hiding place where Bill Clinton stashed his political capital.

        Yesterday, Clinton traveled a safe distance away from his onetime defensible energy tax, then gingerly pressed the detonator.

        He's not into playing "the name game," Clinton said. He wants an energy tax, but it doesn't have to be called a BTU tax - it doesn't even have to be based on the energy content of fuels, which is what British Thermal Unit stands fo

        and
        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        In 1993, then President Bill Clinton proposed a BTU tax. A BTU tax is a type of energy tax (Baron, 1997, p. 14).[3] The tax would have taxed all fuel sources based on their heat content except for wind, solar, and geothermal. It was never adopted. The BTU tax passed the House, but was rejected by the Senate in light of the lobbying effort mobilized against its adoption. The rejected proposal was watered down, as the Clinton administration tried to salvage their efforts by offering to exempt manufacturers and base the tax on the cost rather than the heat content of energy.[4] Many of the House Democrats who voted for the tax and who lost their seats in the 1994 midterm election, blamed their loss on their vote for the BTU tax. Getting "BTU'd" became Beltway slang at the time for those who lost reelection by voting for the controversial proposal.[5]

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

        by PatriciaVa on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:00:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It is surprising to me that this poll reflects (0+ / 0-)

      that a majority of bloggers don't believe that the Chained CPI will be enacted.

      Especially since the Administration has repeatedly said that 'everything is on the table,' and reporters such as Bob Woodward and Matt Bai have reported extensively on the fact that it (Chained or Superlative CPI) has been offered up during negotiations, on more than one occasion.

      I hope as much as anyone that it won't be a part of any "reform package," but I heard Ezra Kleins' wife (Annie Lowrey, a NYT economics reporter) say on XM satellite radio that she anticipates not only the passing of the Chained CPI, but a 'standalone package of Social Security cuts.'  

      That's just one reporter's opinion, but she is in a position to know, or at least have a good idea, of what's really going on.  (BTW, she apparently is in favor of the cuts.)

      She even said that Wall Street is expecting this, as well.  And that's why 'the markets' basically stayed calm during the end-of-the-year hoopla.

      Some progressives 'hang their hats' on the idea that "Well, if it was going to be cut, why hasn't it happened already."  And, of course, the answer to that is that the 'conservative Tea Party types' have prevented it.  That's the only reason that I know of, from the print reporting that I've read in WaPo, NYT, The Hill, Politico, etc.  Personally, I don't like what they report, but I believe them.

      Eventually though, the corporatist John Boehner will surely strike a deal (Bowles-Simpson) for a Grand Bargain.

      I just hope that the progressive communities will fight to stop this.

      Mollie

      “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 Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:39:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  One thing that I might add--we watch a lot of (0+ / 0-)

        C-span TV, including Washington Journal.

        I'm going to soon post a diary with a video clip of a "caller" speaking to Dr. Rivlin about the cuts that she so heartily endorses.  [It's actually funny, because Rivlin literally starts 'gulping down her water.']  Good for a chuckle, if nothing else.

        Several of the leading Democratic Party 'think tank types' (from Brookings), including Dr. Alice Rivlin, Ron Haskill and Isabel Sawhill, are in favor of adopting the Chained CPI.

        They collectively consider it to be 'low-hanging fruit' in the debate over Social Security cuts, or reform.

        Mollie

        “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 Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:58:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I hope chained CPI does not pass. (5+ / 0-)

    He that chooses his own path needs no map. Queen Kristina of Sweden.

    by Boppy on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:51:22 PM PST

  •  It's probably not worth the political (0+ / 0-)

    ...capital it costs to pass it. More likely, COLA will be suspended every once in awhile. Obama already did that a couple of times with nary a peep from the peeps.



    Denial is a drug.

    by Pluto on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:06:53 PM PST

    •  Obama did not "suspend COLA" (5+ / 0-)

      Pure myth.

      COLA was set at zero for two years running simply because of the way the formula works in relation to projected CPI.

      Two things are true:

      One. The current Scheduled Benefit formula is inadequate. We can and should beef up benefits for retirees and especially lower income ones, and even more especially for widows from law income one worker households.

      Two. Social Security recipients got a much larger COLA for 2008 than the existing formula justified in light of updated CPI. As a result COLA was set at zero for two years to allow the two trend lines of CPI and benefits to realign.

      Now because of the inadequacy of the first truth recipients never FELT like the 5.8% COLA was arithmetically too much and instead just factored it in to their consumption. With the result that the lack of COLA the next two years was pereceived and in a real sense was a deprivation. But was perfectly "fair" given the formula and current law.

      Neither of which Obama had fuck all to do with, there were no changes in current law that "suspended" anything. On the other hand retirees who saw much to all of their home equity disappear at the exact time their SS check was frozen experienced some very real income shocks. Which is why it was worth your life to "explain" that in a real sense they actually got two years of COLA early. I know, because I tried to explain it a couple of times before giving it up as a lost cause. People saw a frozen check and food prices going up and naturally concluded they were being screwed.

      And were. Just by current law arithmetic and not any particular act of malice by any person certain. Including Obama.

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

      by Bruce Webb on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:08:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's odd. (0+ / 0-)

        I actually wrote a Diary about it at the time. I did not fault the president, but I thought I learned about it from the president.

        So, you are saying that COLA is suspended by an invisible hand? Or a department with the authority to do so whenever inflation touches a specific number?

        No branch of the Federal Government is involved in such a decision?



        Denial is a drug.

        by Pluto on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:15:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I may have conflated this with (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musiccitymollie

        ...the Federal Employees salary freeze, which was announced at the same time.

        Thanks for the insight.



        Denial is a drug.

        by Pluto on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:24:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Automatic COLA (0+ / 0-)

          http://www.ssa.gov/...

          The 5.8% COLA for 2008 was distorted by a spike in 3rd quarter gas prices that was not sustained. Take that 5.8% and split it over three years and nobody would have blinked. It was the front loading that was indeed set automatically that created the huge perception problem.

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

          by Bruce Webb on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 10:23:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  A question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musiccitymollie

    This is a question I've had since this first came up and I have yet to hear it answered authoritatively.  Do you know if the chained CPI would be applied to the COLA adjustment for a person once the begin to receive SS, or if it would also be applied to the starting amount a new recipient would receive?

    To me, this is a fundamental difference between whether I could stomach this or not.  The reason is several fold.  First off, whether one likes the chained CPI or not, the logic of it can only be applied to an individual.  That is, if one justifies the lower increase because of the theory that a person would alter their behavior when prices go up, it makes no sense to apply that to the initial benefit that new retirees receive.  To do so just progressively lowers the place on the economic scale that recipients start.  Leaving this logic issue aside, it is a much more recoverable thing if this only impacts the increases one receives after benefits have started.  There is no ever increasing disparity between today and the future in terms of what senior citizens receive - so this is a problem that could be fixed equally in five years from now or two, or twenty - it doesn't permanently destroy the system over time.

    And so on...anyway, do you know which is the case?  I don't and I'd like to.

    Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum -- when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes. - PJ Crowley

    by nsfbr on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:22:00 PM PST

    •  The Bowles-Simpson Fiscal Commission recommends (0+ / 0-)

      several cuts to Social Security.

      1)  Superlative or Chained CPI, 2) Raising the FRA (Full Retirement Age) to age 69--current law raises it another year to age 67 shortly, and 3) means testing, which lowers the "initial benefit" by up to 35% for some beneficiaries (extremely low income individuals may get a raise, if they've put in thirty (30) years working.)
      But the deep cuts to the initial PIA comes from means testing.

      Rep Jan Schakowsky (IL) wrote the following Op-Ed entitled "The Sham Of Simpson-Bowles," for Reuters.

      Here's a brief excerpt, and the link to the entire piece.

      Under Simpson-Bowles, long-term solvency for Social Security is achieved mostly by cutting benefits. Seventy-five years out, the ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases is 4 to 1.

      They propose raising the age of full Social Security benefits to 69 – claiming that everyone is living longer. But a sizable percentage of Americans, mostly lower-income workers, especially women, are actually living shorter lives, and a large chunk of other Americans just can’t work that long – even if they can find a job. Their plan cuts benefits for current and future retirees by reducing the cost-of-living adjustment.

      For future retirees, all these changes taken together would reduce the average annual benefit for middle-income workers – those with annual earnings of $43,000 to $69,000 – by up to 35 percent.

      Here's a link to the 66-page proposal, The Moment of Truth.  Hope you take a moment to read it.  It's in very plain language, and very informative.

      Mollie

      “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 Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:55:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure why you think this answers my (0+ / 0-)

        question.  If this is one, could you help me out and tell me what that answer is?  I'm not talking about Simpson Bowles.  I'm talking about the currently discussed chained CPI in a very specific way.

        But I do appreciate your effort.  Thank you.

        Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum -- when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes. - PJ Crowley

        by nsfbr on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 07:04:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  nsfbr, truthfully, I wasn't exactly sure what (0+ / 0-)

          you are asking.  The Chained CPI being considered is the same as the Chained CPI in the Bowles-Simpson proposal.

          That's why I included the link to their proposal.

          This is the recommendation for changing to the Chained CPI:

          RECOMMENDATION 5.7:  ADOPT IMPROVED MEASURE OF CPI.  Use the chained CPI, a more accurate measure of inflation, to calculate the Cost of Living Adjustment for Social Security beneficiaries.

          As with the rest of the mandatory budget and the tax code, we recommend relying on the “chained CPI” to calculate the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in Social Security, rather than the standard CPI.  

          The Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that the chained CPI is designed to more closely approximate a cost-of-living index than the standard CPI, and
          experts on both sides of the aisle have supported this technical improvement to the index.

          Now, since the Chained CPI applies to the annual Cost-Of-Living-Allowance (seems like they calculate it in the fall, maybe October), it should be applied at the beginning, January 1st, of every year that there is an increase.  (Remember, for a couple of years, there wasn't one.)

          IOW, the COLA is adjusted at the same time of the year for EVERYONE (regardless of when they begin drawing their monthly benefits.)
          So, say you began drawing your check in April, the Chained CPI COLA increase will be applied to your monthly benefit amount beginning in January of the "following year."  [Again, that's assuming that there is a COLA increase.]

          Think I'm getting redundant.  Anyway, I hope that is what you're asking.  If not, I apologize.

          If I'm wrong, Bruce, I stand corrected.  I don't get into the weeds on the "formulas" or "math," as much as you do.  So, I'd appreciate your opinion and/or explanation on this, as well.

          Thanks.

          Mollie

          “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 Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 07:41:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Chained CPI would only effect initial benefits (0+ / 0-)

          Indirectly by slightly changing the Cap formula and perhaps being adopted by employers to set COLAs for regular wages. That would tend to suppress Real Wage increases over time and since Initial Benefits are set by a formula that starts from Real Wage would (I think) have SOME effect.

          But nothing I have seen suggests a direct application of Chained CPI to initial benefit formula.

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

          by Bruce Webb on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 10:30:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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