Case Study: Defeated the Chained CPI
Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) to monthly benefits are designed to help retirees keep up with the rising living standards and costs. COLAs are tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners (CPI-W), which surveys price changes in the average set of goods purchased by urban wage earners and clerical workers.
In 2013, many in Congress were seriously considering cutting Social Security benefits by tying the COLA to the Chained CPI (C-CPI-U), a smaller measure of inflation. This change would have caused significant lifetime losses in benefits for the average Social Security beneficiary – $6,000 over 15 years for the average retiree at the time.
Strategy: Raise awareness & mobilize Americans to Stop the Chained CPI
On July 2nd, 2013, the Alliance for Retired Americans staged Human Chain against the Chained CPI events in more than 50 cities and included more than 2,800 participants to raise awareness. The events were featured in more than 120 dramatic television, print, radio and electronic news reports which let the public know where their members of Congress stood on the issue.
Alliance members also held more than 300 meetings with elected officials and their staff, made thousands of phone calls and delivered more than 100,000 emails to members of Congress urging them to oppose the chained CPI.
Our actions reached all corners of the United States.
President Obama heard Alliance members from across the country and removed the chained CPI cut to Social Security and other programs from his 2015 budget. Hundreds of members of Congress became part of our movement. Nationwide, grassroots actions and people-powered politics worked. We applaud the President for doing the right thing: listening and keeping this unjust cut out of his budget proposal.