Chained CPI: 4 Opinions From the Press

It’s not only politicians who have mixed reactions to a different way of calculating cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security benefits. Newspaper editorial writers and columnists are conflicted, too. The chained consumer price index, included in President Obama’s budget proposal, would mean that seniors’ checks would go up a little slower each year. The chained CPI assumes that as prices go up, consumers buy cheaper substitute goods to make up for it. Here’s how it’s playing among the mainstream press’s opinion …

Where Obama Stands on a COLA Change for Social Security

Wondering about President Obama’s position on slowing growth in Social Security benefits? It was made very clear during today’s White House press briefing. Asked whether the president is open to raising the eligibility age for Medicare as part of a budget deal, Press Secretary Jay Carney said absolutely not. Then the subject changed to the so-called chained CPI. The proposed change for calculating cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security and veterans benefits faces strong opposition from AARP and veterans groups. Here’s …

Hammering an Idea for Stingier COLAs

This video might leave you with the impression that nobody wants a proposed change for calculating cost-of-living adjustments (COLA). Not older Americans. Not veterans. Not women. Not labor. And certainly not independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. That the so-called chained Consumer Price Index has no support isn’t the case, of course, or these people wouldn’t have met at the U.S. Capitol to take turns bashing the proposal. Though the formula would slow increases in Social Security, veterans and …

Unlikely Allies Against a COLA Change for Social Security

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: …

Why Inflation Matters for Social Security

One of Social Security’s great strengths is that it offers meaningful protection against inflation. Each year, the program considers how prices are rising [as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers]. If prices go up, the Social Security benefits people have earned tend to be adjusted as well. For a typical household, this protection is huge – a point I tried to emphasize in my book, “Social Security for Dummies.” It helps people keep …