Though Liberals Carp at Chained CPI, Pelosi Says She Could Live With It

By: Tuesday December 18, 2012 2:20 pm

Many of what would be described as the liberal left of Congress have weighed in against using the chained CPI to calculate cost of living increases in Social Security benefits. Here’s a representative sample from Sen. Jeff Merkley: We had an election, and the voters sent a message to Congress to focus on jobs and [...]

What Chained CPI Means, and Why a Cut in a Time of Inadequate Social Security Benefits Makes No Sense

By: Monday December 17, 2012 2:45 pm

Let’s just make clear what chained CPI is all about. The idea here is that you should not measure the cost of living simply based on the consumer price index, and then raise the costs accordingly with the rise in prices. Instead, economists say, you have to account for the substitution effect in response to [...]

Boehner in Bargaining Phase: Calls for Millionaire’s Bracket

By: Sunday December 16, 2012 9:31 am

House Speaker John Boehner’s latest offer sheet to the President in the fiscal slope negotiations includes an increase in tax rates on people earning $1 million a year, the first time that the Republican leader has proposed any tax rate hike. The White House, seeking rises on tax rates above $250,000, rejected the offer. Boehner [...]

Progressive Groups Oppose Potential Social Security Benefit Cut From Move to Chained CPI

By: Tuesday October 16, 2012 1:01 pm

I mentioned earlier today that Social Security recipients will see a 1.7% cost of living increase in 2013, one of the smallest in the history of the program, which amounts to around $21 a month for the average recipient. This is likely to get eaten up by Medicare premium increases and drug costs. In two [...]

Social Security COLA Increase for 2013: 1.7%

By: Tuesday October 16, 2012 7:53 am

The COLA is calculated by a measurement of inflation, which has risen slowly over the past year. However, the inflation calculation used currently, the Consumer Price Index for Wage Earners or CPI-W, may not take in the rise in cost of living for seniors, which most strongly depends on rising health care costs (a separate measure, the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly or CPI-E, accounts for this much better).

Obama Lets Slip Plans for Chained CPI

By: Friday August 19, 2011 11:34 am

Jon Walker already mentioned this push by President Obama for changes to Medicare and Social Security in his town hall meetings in rural areas this week. It’s actually worse than that. Walker highlighted comments from the stump speech. Look closer at the question and answer session. Twice this week, the President was asked specifically about [...]

Chained CPI Not Only a Social Security Benefit Cut, but a Regressive Tax Increase

By: Friday July 8, 2011 12:21 pm

Yes, switching to chained CPI changes not only the cost of living adjustment for Social Security and other benefit programs that use a COLA, like federal pensions and veteran’s benefits. It also changes the cost of living adjustment for…. tax brackets. A tax bracket that might go up, say, $100 year-over-year would only go up $50, under chained CPI. And that means that higher tax brackets would be available at lower yearly income. This sounds technical, but the point is it’s a tax increase, designed to bring in $60 billion over ten years. What’s more, it’s a regressive tax increase.

Not a Soul in Democratic Coalition Happy With Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid Proposals in Debt Limit Deal

By: Thursday July 7, 2011 11:35 am

It’s obvious that groups like and the Congressional Progressive Caucus will reject any cuts to Social Security and Medicare in a debt limit deal. At least, I’m confident at this point that they will. MoveOn came out with a poll today showing a total erosion of the President’s support if he goes this route, [...]

Court Cases Chipping Away at Public Employee Benefit Contracts

By: Friday July 1, 2011 11:42 am

The New York Times reports on a major change that could impact holders of public pensions, a kind of opening of the floodgates for those who want to slash the benefits that public employees earned throughout their lifetimes. Judges in Colorado and Minnesota have dismissed court challenges by retired public workers whose pensions had been [...]

The Social Security Benefit Cut in the Debt Limit Talks

By: Friday July 1, 2011 11:04 am

One of the more insidious possibilities in a debt limit deal is the use of something called “chained CPI,” which would result in changes to how the government calculates the annual cost of living adjustment. This would impact both how tax brackets change on an annual basis, and also how the COLA gets applied in [...]

Chained CPI: The Latest Wonk-Speak for Social Security Benefit Cuts

By: Friday June 24, 2011 11:35 am

Ezra Klein casually mentions that chained CPI (CPI stands for the Consumer Price Index) may be part of the deficit deal. Right now, Social Security’s cost-of-living increases are tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers and the tax code is indexed to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban [...]

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