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Fri Feb 21, 2014, 03:24 PM

Chained CPI has for years been "a potential sop to conservatives". [View all]

One definition of sop from the Free online dictionary.

1. A piece of food soaked or dipped in a liquid.
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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