Shorter Mitch McConnell: “Zero Social Security COLA Too Generous”
Way to rally the base Turtle Neck!
NY Times: No Social Security Raises Even if Medicare Soars
WASHINGTON — The 60 million people on Social Security will not receive any cost-of-living increase in their benefits in 2016, the government said Thursday, but because of a quirk in federal law, nearly one-third of Medicare beneficiaries could have record increases in their premiums unless Congress intervenes.
CNN: Sources: McConnell floats entitlement changes in high-stakes fiscal talks
McConnell is seeking a reduction in cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security recipients and new restrictions on Medicare, including limiting benefits to the rich and raising the eligibility age, several sources said.
Now it is true that Social Security policy geeks like me and maybe some other readers/contributors to Angry Bear can have an informed discussion on the pro’s and con’s of CPI-U vs CPI-W vs CPI-E vs Chained CPI-W and their respective effects on Social Security “actuarial imbalance” and “unfunded liability over the infinite future horizon”. God knows I am up for that discussion any time and feel free to weigh in on the comment thread.
But you have to be pretty politically brain dead to propose holding the Debt Limit hostage to demands for COLA reductions in the same damn week that SSA announced that COLA would be zero for 2016. Boy that should rally seniors to the polls to vote Republican next year.
Why Is the CBO Concocting a Phony Debt Crisis?
A simple accounting trick is arming austerity hawks with a powerful, phony weapon.
“Unfunded liability” weaponized. Not news to regular AB readers.
The Right really, really hates Social Security. Even paranoids have real enemies.
CPI-E is an experiment, not a real statistic. I found lots of info on CPI-E but I could not find how the E index performed since 2010 (3 no COLA years). Anyone know where that info is?
An odd side affect of the no COLA is that millions of seniors will see a 50+% increase in Medicare Part B costs. This is a problem in need of a “fix” ASAP. Medicare open enrollment starts in two weeks. (I believe the problems with Medicare for 2016 are larger than those described in the article)
All of this because the Saudis pumped more crude and knocked the bottom out of the oil market. Yes, cheaper gas is a big benefit to the economy, but it is never a one way street. The low inflation from cheap gas is also a drain on the economy.
Webb – I thought this from Biggs was interesting:
Yes the “E” does stand for ‘experimental’ and not as most assume ‘elderly’. Dean Baker estimates it would take about $30-40 million in research/survey costs to actually turn CPI-E into a rigorous metric. But since people are proposing to use it to adjust literally trillions of dollars of benefits over the next thirty years probably a reasonable sum. And I would hope they spent equivalent amounts to really study the Chained-CPI-W that the other side often proposes as a substitute. Whether you are a supporter or reformer of Social Security it is incumbent on us to do more than impressionistic hand-waving about “catfood” and “greedy geezers”.
I’m not really much in favor of increasing SS when it is going to have problems paying currently scheduled benefits, but I am in favor of people talking about it because it shifts peoples perceptions of what is reasonable.
Arne most serious ‘enhance and expand’ plans for Social Security come with a revenue component. For example the Social Security Works (DC) ‘All Generations Plan’ comes with rigorous scoring by the SSA OACT which can be inspected in book form in Social Security Works!: Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All available from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Social-Security-Works-Isn%C2%92t-Expanding/dp/1620970376?tag=duckduckgo-ffsb-20 The authors are in the way of being friends of mine and one is running for Congress in NY so purchase at your own risk. But not all plans to expand Social Security are just building plans in the sky.
Where does McConnell say “Zero Social Security COLA Too Generous”?
I cannot find it in your linked articles.
Warren are you familiar with the Internet concept of “shorter”?
” Term used in political blogs to introduce a humorous, usually exaggerated summary of somebody else’s opinion, arguments or statements.
Shorter Bush: “Either re-elect me, or you’re a terrorist.”
You need to get out more. Or in more. Considering we are talking the blogosphere.
Don’t have a cite but a forum of progressive economists I belong to has a deep interest in CPI-E and one of them sent around numbers that showed that CPI-E and CPI-W tracked amazingly close over a time period very close to the one you inquire about. In contrast with recent history where CPI-W tended to under-track CPI-E.
The difference seemed to clearly linked to ACA. Which had the effect of lowering out of pocket medical costs for seniors relative to before and so flattening the major divergence point between typical expenses of workers and retirees.
To the extent that a big source of remaining strain on senior finance, particularly at the lower end is Medicare Part B premium increases I would say your diagnosis is spot on.
And let me review the Biggs article in a second. I will probably need another drink, and it is barely past noon here.
Krasting read the Biggs. And bog standard Andrew.
Scrupulously honest on the numbers. If shameless about the cherry trees from which picked. And the time frame from which plucked.
He has an excellent point, one in fact made here at AB time and again: taxing the rich is not a total solution, and any plan to fix and certainly to expand Social Security is going to take worker participation. Indeed some Bears would insist on leaving the rich mostly out of this altogether. Which makes this concluding statement by Biggs a little disingenuous.
“In other words, making the rich pay their “fair share,” as progressives like to say, would address only about 71% of the Social Security shortfall. Not much room to expand benefits here, folks.”
Yes. But only soft-headed progressives think any different. For example the AB “Northwest Plan” would put almost all the burden on the workers while the SSW DC Plan would impose about half the cost on workers (essentially equivalent to NW and the ‘fix’) and the other half on the wealthy (the ‘expand’). So yes taxing the rich only gets us to 71% or so of the fix. But that is not the only component on the table.
No, I am not familiar with that term. Thank you.
A little life update for AB regular commenters.
I just landed a job doing Chat Technical Support. Which means typing back and forth with customers needing help with their devices much like one would do in a comment thread flame war. Except that on the job I am required to be nice, and helpful, and humorous only within tight bounds, because while the customer is not always right he or she is paying both my boss’s and my rent. And so outright snark and flat out meanness is simply out of the question. Until I am off the clock and back here at Angry Bear. Which isn’t an apology exactly but more an explanation of why I don’t ask or give quarter. You want nice ask me a question about your phone.
I read Biggs over at Forbes. “And with the rich tapped out …” Hilarious.
Andrew Biggs is a nice guy, and smart and well-informed. But he is paid to be shameless as a shill for the anti-Social Security crowd. And does his job well. By the way unlike just about any other winger he has a website with comments enabled and will respond to well-reasoned relatively polite arguments. Just do your eff’ing homework. Because on his CV is a stint as Principal Deputy Commissioner of Social Security and near as I can tell he didn’t sleep through a lot o policy meetings. http://andrewgbiggs.blogspot.com/
Notes on Social Security Reform
Occasional comments on the economics and politics of Social Security policy by Andrew Biggs
I like to think of Andrew as a Mafia Lawyer. Sure he represents the worst characters in American society. But who hates Don Corleone’s Consigliare Tom Hagen?
Personally, I thought you were too nice.
Nice is one of Bruce’s trademarks . . .
I don’t like to embarrass Dan, Run and the other Bears. Not so nice elsewhere in the blogosphere. My middle name is not ‘Dick’, which might surprise some of my interlocutors.