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Unlikely Allies Against a COLA Change for Social Security

Posted By Kim Keister On February 5, 2013 @ 12:48 pm In Washington Watch | Comments Disabled

David Certner, AARP legislative policy director, and Andrew G. Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, are both against a proposed change in the formula that’s used to calculate Social Security cost-of-living adjustments. That Certner and Biggs would find common ground is surprising, considering how often AARP and the AEI, a Washington, D.C., think tank, are at odds on policy issues.

How surprising? Here’s Biggs’ opening remark at their moderated discussion on the issue: “If you had asked me about the [proposed change] five years ago, I would have probably said, ‘It’s kind of a no-brainer to do. Everybody agrees it’s a better measure of inflation, and since AARP is against it, well, I should probably be for it.’ ”

Certner and Biggs aired their mutual disapproval of the proposal – the so-called chained Consumer Price Index, which would help reduce budget deficits and national debt while gnawing at Social Security benefits – but made clear their reasoning wasn’t necessarily the same. Watch some video clips below (or watch the full discussion here).

Should Social Security even be part of the budget debate?

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Biggs disagreed, saying he had “no problems with including Social Security or other entitlements in these sorts of discussions.”

 

Who would the chained CPI affect?

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Biggs and Certner shared an interest in researching an alternate formula that would increase cost-of-living adjustments.

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Biggs would offset those higher adjustments by cutting the starting benefit. (Certner would not.)

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Watch for debates over the chained CPI to surface in upcoming budget battles.


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