Since there was no increase in the cost of living in the past year, there’s no cost of living adjustment (COLA) to Social Security benefits for next year.  Pretty straightforward– doesn’t seem there should be much too complain about.  Yet, AP ran a story about how tough this is on all these elderly on fixed budgets.  Hello, if the cost of living did not go up, you don’t need more money to obtain your standard of living!!  Excerpts:

“I think it’s disgusting,” said Paul McNeil, 69, a retired state worker from Warwick, R.I., who said his food and utility costs have gone up, but his income has not. He lamented decisions by lawmakers that he said do not favor seniors…

Bette Baldwin won’t be able to travel or help her children as much. Dorcas Eppright will give less to charity. Jack Dawson will buy cheap whiskey instead of his beloved Canadian Club.

“For people who have worked their whole life and tried to scrimp and save and try to provide for themselves,” said Baldwin, a 63-year-old retired teacher, “it’s difficult to see that support system might not sustain you.”

Baldwin and her husband mapped out their retirements, carefully calculating their income based on their pensions and Social Security checks. Trouble is, they expected an annual cost-of-living increase.

Give me a break!  They planned for increased costs that aren’t there, thus they don’t need the COLA.  Argh– what a frustrating article.

In fact, when the cost of living goes down, benefits stay the same.  Beneficiaries keep up from inflation, but don’t suffer any deficit to deflation.  Many economists have suggested that the formula used to calculate the COLA’s is too generous, if anything.  A number of the seniors in the article seemed to get it, but the sense of entitlement among many was really pretty disgusting.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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