Retiree Group Opposes Social Security Change in “Fiscal Cliff” Talks

December 20, 2012

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For Immediate Release                      
December 20, 2012                                                   

The following statement was issued today by Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans.

“Millions of seniors would suffer cuts in Social Security from a plan under consideration in on-going budget talks in Washington.  The Alliance for Retired Americans strongly opposes this badly-flawed proposal to change how inflation is measured in determining Social Security Cost-of-Living-Adjustments (COLA).

“Looking past the policy jargon and false claims about ‘technical corrections,’ the hard truth is that seniors would lose some of the Social Security benefits they have earned, paid for, and need to get by each month.  For example, under what is coldly labeled as the “chained CPI,” a worker retiring in 2011 at age 65 would lose over $6,000 over 15 years.  

“The faulty logic of this proposed change assumes that under a lower COLA consumers could simply choose a cheaper substitute for an intended purchase.  However, for seniors health care costs consume a vast amount of their income.  These costs cannot simply be substituted with a cheaper version. For example, a senior cannot try to save money by opting for a double bypass surgery instead of a triple bypass.  

“Not only is this a terribly harmful policy choice, but it has no place in the budget talks.  Social Security has not added one penny to our budget deficit.  We cannot ask workers and retirees to pay the price for a problem they did not create.

“We must reject the chained-CPI.  And we must change our badly-flawed tax system, one that regularly puts Social Security at risk to pay for more tax breaks for the wealthy.  It’s long past time that we stop asking those with the least to sacrifice the most.”


Contact: Michael Buckley (202) 637-5190 / mbuckley@retiredamericans.org 

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