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Fri Feb 21, 2014, 03:24 PM

Chained CPI has for years been "a potential sop to conservatives".

One definition of sop from the Free online dictionary.

n.
1. A piece of food soaked or dipped in a liquid.
2.
a. Something yielded to placate or soothe.
b. A bribe.


We have tried far too long to placate the right wing extremists. There has been little thought to the harm that might be done to the elderly...it's been a political play, a thoughtless one.

I'm glad President Obama has decided to drop it from the budget this time. It should never have been there in the first place.

This is a great piece by Michael Hiltzik in the LA Times.

Bye-bye, chained CPI

As we've pointed out in the past, the difference is cumulative. The result is a stealth benefit cut for recipients that grows over time. It might look modest at first, but after 10 years of retirement, recipients would be receiving 10% less in their monthly checks than they would have received under the traditional CPI. After 20 years--that is, for retirees in their mid-80s--the difference is minus-20%.

That's especially disturbing because retirees become more dependent on Social Security as they grow older and begin to outlive their personal assets. It's also troubling because Social Security is most important for the elderly, especially low-income elderly, as a bulwark against economic downturns.

Despite all that, the chained CPI has lived on for years in Washington as a potential sop to conservatives in negotiations over a fiscal "grand bargain."

The White House now indicates that it has finally given up hope on reaching that bargain with Republicans. (What took them so long?) So the chained CPI, which was part of President Obama's budget proposal as recently as last year, is out of the budget to be unveiled on March 4.


Hiltzik says it may be gone for now, and that is a victory. However he doesn't think it will be a lasting victory at all.

He says "Recent history shows that the dream of forcing low-income seniors to pay for budget cuts so that wealthy Americans aren't burdened with a tax increase never really dies; it just goes into hibernation."

Now we have the battle over the TPP which appears to be something that will change the face of our country forever. That, too, may be a winnable temporary victory.

I want to add that we need to keep fighting both parties who are intent on taking education out of the public venue...and turning it over to private sectors who will get the taxpayers' money.

But that would be just a useless thing to say, as few seem to care about it. The free market schools of Newt Gingrich's dream are now coming to be under a Democratic administration. That's pretty bad.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 03:35 PM

1. And it is really ok for me to point out right wing things our party is doing.

It truly is not a bad thing to do. I don't see how in the world we can stop questioning what our party does in our name? Do you? This is not disrespect toward President Obama, it is not disrespect toward the Democratic party.

It is pointing out that we have far too long given in to the demands of extremists.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 03:38 PM

2. I agree. but acting like President Obama is the first and only President to consider chained CPI

 

is not true.

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Response to kelliekat44 (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 03:39 PM

3. I don't believe I said that at all.

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Response to kelliekat44 (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 03:41 PM

4. has any other democratic president put it in his budget?

 

do you think that it's fair to criticize him for doing so?

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Response to cali (Reply #4)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 03:45 PM

7. That poster is jumping on the OP for something the OP never said, so clearly fairness is not

 

considered to be a requirement.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 08:41 PM

15. .....

I didn't think I had said it. I read the OP again. Did not mean it that way, though it could possibly be true. I just did not research to see.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 03:42 PM

5. Thanks for both your works and the article at the link, both sound refreshingly Democratic

 

which these days is unusual on DU.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #5)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 03:59 PM

8. It shouldn't be unusual here at all.

Thanks for the kind words, and I agree. We can not stop being honest.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 03:43 PM

6. Oh, and BTW....

this post is NOT, I repeat NOT, saying I am not going to vote. When honest critique is interpreted as such, this is no longer a discussion board.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #6)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 04:26 PM

10. Too bad it's a religious thing around these parts

where insufficient worship is prima facie proof of apostasy.

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Response to jsr (Reply #10)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 05:25 PM

14. One can become a pariah very quickly...

as I have found out when posting about education reform. It's undeserved, but it happens.

Getting very weary of it. In fact it will turn into anger soon. How can we have discussion if we all must refuse to be critical when needed for a democracy?

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 04:22 PM

9. Hiltzik "Ripping off needy seniors through the 'chained CPI'"

Another great article of his from 2011.

Ripping off needy seniors through the 'chained CPI'

Of all the ways policymakers in Washington show they have absolutely no conception of how their tinkerings with the federal budget affect average Americans, one stands alone. That's the proposal to change the formula that determines annual cost-of-living increases for people on Social Security.

At the heart of this particular change is an inflation indicator known as the chained consumer price index. You may have heard the term bandied about, along with the claim that it's more accurate at measuring inflation than the plain-vanilla versions of the CPI used today for inflation adjustments in Social Security, the income tax and other federal programs.

First published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2002, the chained CPI was designed to adjust for the ways real-life consumers compensate when a product or service gets more expensive: They buy less of it, or find a cheaper brand, or find something different, or go without.

The phenomenon is known as "substitution." Economists fear that an inflation index that ignores substitution might overstate the real cost of living because it will include products in its market basket that consumers have tossed out of theirs. The example favored by BLS analysts is ice cream — as it rises in price, the analysts observe, consumers will buy a pint instead of a quart, or buy a store brand instead of Breyers, or shop for it at Costco instead of Ralphs.


Published in 2002. That answers a question above.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #9)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 04:40 PM

11. The Whole 'Substitution' Line Is Utterly Bogus, Ma'am

If the price of some articles rise, and a person therefore purchases different items in substitution, at lower cost and of lower quality, while that person may be paying about the same amount, they are getting less value for it, and therefore their standard of living has not kept pace with rising costs. The purpose of a cost of living index is to maintain the standard of living of persons receiving income, or, in other words, to see that they can buy the same items they did formerly, when the cost of those items rises. Put even more coldly, the purpose of a cost of living index is to see to it people get the same value from their income as they did formerly when prices rise. The 'substitution' line is an open statement that the value people will receive for their income will drop as the price of goods rises. The people pressing this do not even try to hide it, save by leaving it in plain sight and trusting people will not look and see....

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #11)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 05:17 PM

13. "trusting people will not look and see"

And if one sees it, best not to comment out loud.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 04:47 PM

12. Forgot the Keystone pipeline. Cartoon from Daily Kos

A pipeline runs through it



Background on these words, from Think Progress.

Ten Things Obama Must Do to Help Slow the Rise of the Oceans and Heal the Planet – Without Waiting for Congress

When Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, he declared that future generations would remember it as “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” More than three years later, the oceans are still rising and our planet has done more howling – in the form of extreme weather – than healing. In fact, the current political climate is actually headed in the wrong direction….

It’s not all Obama’s fault: His plans to rebuild America’s energy infrastructure have been hampered by the recession, and his efforts on global warming have been stymied by Tea Party wackos and weak-kneed Democrats in Congress. But the president has spent far too much time blaming others, when he could have been taking action on his own. Here are 10 things Obama could do right now – without any say-so from Congress – to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. All it takes is the will – and some political courage.


List is at the link.

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