The Bipartisan Attack on Social Security or Let ‘Em Eat Cat Food!

 by Dave Duncan

Social Security is called an “entitlement.” It really is not. Social Security is what people have gained from years of work. Money has been deducted from their pay and from the income their employer has gained from their work.

For many years Republicans have been talking about cutting back on Social Security benefits. Ideas have been put forth that would raise the age bar for receiving social security and/or simply cut the monthly benefits received. Some want to “privatize” the program so that the bankers and stock brokers can get their hands on the trillions of dollars. Americans young and old will be financially hurt by the proposed changes.  The reason given for these proposals is the politicians’ desire to cut the federal deficit.

     Obama Offers to Cut Social Security

Now Democratic President Obama has proposed a new way to cut Social Security benefits to seniors by adjusting downward the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which is the way annual cost of living increases are determined, He is showing Wall Street that he can cut Social Security benefits as well as the next guy.  The Democrats and the Republicans are both ready to tell those receiving SS that they will have to learn to live with less in order to reduce the deficits created by the Bush tax cuts and the Bush and Obama bail out of Wall St.

     CPI-W is the current way that the annual cost of living is figured.

CPI-U will expand CPI-W to “reflect” the spending habits of retired and unemployed people. In both of the above plans the annual cost of living adjustment (cola) is lowered by the assumption that the retiree will choose lower cost items. If the cost of beef rises then it will be assumed that the senior will buy chicken. If the cost of chicken rises we can assume that seniors will buy hot dogs. If hot dogs are too expensive there’s always cat food. Sonya Collins, a senior from Binghamton, believes that seniors must make other choices besides just buying cheaper food items. “Should I get food or fill the prescription? The pills ran out on the 25th and I don’t get my check until the 1st. I have $75 left to last 5 more days and I need cereal, milk, meat, salad fixings, cat food and the co-pay for this particular medication is $60. Will it kill me to go five days without the medicine?”

Obama’s Proposal: the Chained CPI.

This Chained CPI would adjust the annual increase to an even lower rate than CPI-U which is lower than CPI-W. Instead of changing from coffee to cheaper priced tea, the Chained CPI assumes that when tea prices increase seniors will select cheaper priced soda or apple juice. The annual increase in Social Security will be lowered to reflect the “choices” seniors will make in their everyday lives.


        What Will Obama’s Plan Cost You?

For the average worker retiring today at 65, Obama’s plan would mean that the worker’s Social Security would be $650-$700 a year less at age 75. If this retired worker lives to age 85, and this would be mainly women, the Obama cut would mean about $1,200 per year less or about the cost of three months of groceries.

       Setting up the Plan

Obama created a commission on deficit reduction which includes powerful conservatives from both parties including some who have advocated the cutting of Social Security. Their report will not be made public until after the 2013 fall elections. This keeps the voters from getting a say for at least two years.  

         Retired Workers Get Screwed

We had the money to bail out the greedy crowd on Wall St. The Federal Reserve Board continues to purchase $85 billion in bonds each month which supports Wall St. and keeps the price of stocks high while seniors with a little savings cannot count on getting 1% income from a savings account. The Bush era tax cuts provided billions annually to the wealthy.                           

       Younger Workers

Today’s worker will be forced to work more years to get lower benefits. Many young people do not believe that there will be any Social Security for them when they retire. This may be true.

Is this the kind of government we want?
















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