Thursday, April 11, 2013

Social Security Administration says chained CPI protections would reduce poverty among the very elderly

For a while now I've been saying that before we can evaluate the effects of President Obama's proposal to implement chained CPI, we needed to see the details of what he proposes to protect the most vulnerable.

Those details are now available.

First of all, there is a "benefit enhancement" for the very elderly. The formula (described at the link) is a bit complicated, but here's the end result:
Because of the benefit enhancement for the very elderly, the Budget proposal would not increase the poverty rate for Social Security beneficiaries, and would slightly reduce poverty among the very elderly according to SSA estimates.
Secondly, here is a list of programs that would be exempt from chained CPI:
  • The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, meaning that the lowest-income seniors and people with disabilities generally would not be affected. 
  • Means-tested veterans’ pensions as well as the Montgomery GI Bill-active duty or the post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. 
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and child nutrition programs. 
  • Pell Grants. 
  • Poverty guidelines.
The White House says that without these protections and without "substantial revenue raised through tax reform" - no deal.

With all that - and a rejection of the slippery slope arguments - almost all of the policy-based objections to chained CPI have been addressed. What we're left with is whether or not putting it in the budget is good politics. I'd suggest a "wait and see" on that one.  


  1. I wish liberals would just wait to judge President Obama's actions until AFTER they get all the information. I can't believe they still don't trust him. He has been consistent all this time. Thanks for your clearly laid out information. It is so nice to read your work.

  2. As my friend BoB, "The Fourth Estate" would say...#TrustBarack he has earned it!...

  3. Pre-emptive freakout is standard for these people. That won't change.

    As to whether or not it's good politics, I think you answered your own concerned in your next post, Smartypants. Good to see the actual Social Security Administration weigh in on this.

  4. Good to see that some protections are trying to be put in you predicted. I suspect that all this hubbub is part of a calculated plan to generate interest in the budget process.

    1. In layman's terms, at what age is elderly poor. Late 60's or early 70's?. Would be nice to know where I fit.