Friday, July 08, 2011

Killing Social Security

"If they would rather die,'' said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."
Democrats are proposing playing with the Consumer Price Index as a way of cutting Social Security benefits for current recipients. 

The proposal is to used something called the Chained CPI. There is no clear definition of what the C-CPI is. Every explanation I've found is so heavily jargonised (Warning: The prior link was written by a statistician) as to be meaningless to anyone without a Master's degree in obfuscation. Simply put, the C-CPI assumes that people won't buy sweaters in the winter if t-shirts are on cheaper.

Statisticians have created a CPI that is more appropriate. The CPI-Elderly looks at the basket of goods that the elderly purchase - health care, food, energy. The CPI-E shows what anyone living in the real world knows, inflation hits the elderly harder than other people in large part because of heath care costs.

But this adjustment to Social Security has nothing to do with the real world, compassion, or even the Ten Commandments ("Honor thy mother and father"). Even though the CPI-E is far more appropriate, the politicians will choose the index most likely to starve grandma into an early grave because it is all about lowering taxes on the wealthy.

A note to President Obama: Accept this and I may still end up voting for your reelection but don't expect enthusiasm, don't expect money, don't expect anything more than "my sick bastard is marginally better than their sicker bastard." And, no, this is not the change I sought.

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