What Washington Politicians Really Mean When They Talk About Our Benefits

This originally appeared at The Huffington Post. This week before the President’s State of the Union address, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that the President won’t advocate for raising the age of Medicare beneficiaries but that he’s absolutely willing to cut our Social Security benefits.  Carney’s tune dramatically changed the narrative from the 2012 campaign by saying said that the President wouldn’t “ask seniors to bear the burden of further deficit reduction alone.”  During the 2012 election candidates …

5 Reasons Chained CPI Is Bad For Social Security

David Certner is the Legislative Counsel and Director of Legislative Policy for Government Affairs at AARP. Congress and the Administration are considering, as a means of deficit reduction, a legislative change to the consumer price index – the so-called “chained CPI.” This change would have a particularly negative impact on Social Security benefits – here’s why: 1. Chained CPI compounds over time.  As a result of a chained CPI, there will be a 0.3% annual cut in Social Security cost …

The Takeaway: Super-Committee Countdown; 1 In 5 U.S. Adults On Psych Meds

Yet the deficit reduction committee's deadline fast approaching, it's still uncertain whether panel members will be able to get over their current partisan deadlock and actually do what they set out to do"”and if they fail, older Americans have a lot to lose. Plus, a new analysis finds 20 percent of all American adults are taking medication to treat some sort of mental or behavioral health problem.

The Takeaway: AARP CEO Addresses Debt Committee; New Federal Office Focuses on Senior Scams

AARP CEO A. Barry Rand sent a letter yesterday to the debt Super Committee asking the 12-member panel not to include Social Security or Medicare benefit cuts in its plans. And the newly-created Office of Older Americans, within the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will focus on stopping the financial abuse of older adults. Regulators say financial fraud costs older Americans about $3 billion a year.

The Takeaway: Americans Don’t Want Benefit Cuts; Reasons Not to Roll 401(k) Into IRA

Medicare, Social Security Cuts Unpopular: Red, blue or purple, Americans of all political stripes object to using Medicare and Social Security cuts to reduce the deficit. In a new national poll, 82 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of Independents and 58 percent of Republicans rejected such cuts. And while politicians often tout the unpopularity of raising taxes on anybody, even greater numbers of each group-94 percent of Democrats, 82 percent of Independents and 64 percent of Republicans – said they …

The Takeaway: Obama’s Debt Plan, Anti-Customer Bank Plans and Employers Raiding Retirement Plans

Obama is proposing tax increases, war spending decreases, and cuts to programs such as Social Security and Medicare in his deficit reduction plan … Banks are slashing interest rates and imposing more fees on checking accounts to dissuade customers … And investigative reporter Ellen E. Schultz suggests that it was greed, not the economy, that led companies to slash employee benefits and raid workers' retirement funds.