Above, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, explains how the latest proposal to reduce the debt would harm seniors.
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today urged Congress and President Obama to back off a budget deal that would cut Social Security benefits.
The latest proposal would adopt a chained consumer price index ("chained CPI") to calculate Social Security benefits.
The press release just issued says:
The Teamsters oppose the chained CPI for Social Security because it would most hurt the oldest and poorest retirees.
“Social Security does not contribute to the budget deficit and should remain off the table in these year-end budget negotiations,” Hoffa said. “Americans work all their lives to earn the Social Security benefits they were promised. It would be a terrible mistake to go back on that promise.”
Chained CPI is not an accurate measurement of inflation for the elderly, whose primary costs are housing and health care. Those expenses are rising faster than other costs. Using the chained CPI would result in a cut to Social Security benefits by $112 billion over 10 years.
“We are making sure our members are aware of this issue,” Hoffa said. “We strongly oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and we will not waver from that position.”Economist Dean Baker questions the assumption that Social Security benefits are adequate even without using the chained CPI:
The median income of people over age 65 is less than $20,000 a year. Nearly 70 percent of the elderly rely on Social Security benefits for more than half of their income and nearly 40 percent rely on Social Security for more than 90 percent of their income. These benefits average less than $15,000 a year.Read his whole essay here.