Friday, April 12, 2013

The Chained CPI

Here's an excerpt from a fax I sent to my Congressman, Tim Bishop (D-NY), on April 3.  I never get any answers, so I'm beginning to think he never loads any paper in his fax machine.

I write to enlist your opposition to use of the chained consumer price index for calculating Social Security and Veterans' benefits.  I taught economics for many years, so I understand the substitution effect, but for many of our older and disabled citizens, there is not a lot of substitution left to be done.
The beef industry is suffering because so many already have substituted pork and poultry for beef, to keep grocery bills down.  I suppose we could substitute further, for a while, but I suspect some seniors and veterans already are substituting white rice for green vegetables, and cat food for chicken.
Since you represent the foreskin of Long Island, I don't suppose you have a lot of access to Our President, but perhaps you still might pass along this message.  You also might pass it along to Chuck Schumer, with a note that Wall Street is doing just fine, and he might get back to representing the rest of New York one of these days.
Since I wrote that, of course, Our President presented his budget proposal, and that proposal included chained CPI.  I sincerely hope it was just a political ploy on his part, working on the assumption that Republicans never would accept the revenue increases he wants.

Another idea out there is means testing Social Security benefits.  Pretty clearly, that would be the end of Social Security, because large numbers of the more affluent — most notably, those currently paying into the system — would think it not worth their while to keep Granny living in a shack rather than a ditch.

(Okay, I couldn't resist that "foreskin of Long Island" line, but I'm really tired of not getting any answers to my communications.  I think, maybe, that gives me a right to be a bit offensive.)

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