Millions of lives are now on Washington’s negotiating table
Nov 17, 2013 | 2267 views | 1 1 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

Recently, we’ve met with at least half of NJ’s Congressional delegation and/or their staff to discuss the “chained CPI” proposal that would cut current Social Security beneficiaries’ annual cost of living adjustments (COLA). Many Democrats and Republicans are saying things like, “It wouldn’t be my first choice, but if it is part of a budget deal…” Such statements tell the story. They are unwilling to remove this unfair proposal from negotiations.

Currently, COLA already comes up short in reflecting the cost increases retirees actually experience. Witness the most recent 1.7 percent COLA, or next year’s 1.5 percent projected increase. Chained CPI has the potential to make life that much harder for millions of seniors– especially in high-cost states like NJ. And our recent experience shows, while many legislators are aware of the issue, they won't commit to protecting Social Security beneficiaries from the significant cuts that adoption of the chained CPI would cause.

As Congress works in the coming months to avoid another government shutdown and/or financial default, they should consider people like Carol from Caldwell, who said, “I have been on Social Security since 2000. I am barely holding on and not eating well. I’m age 67 and disabled.”

Her life is one of the millions now on Washington’s negotiating table.

Dave Mollen
AARP New Jersey State President

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November 18, 2013
I agree that many legislators are essentially going back on their statements that they are not going to sacrifice the financial well being of seniors and disabled. I live in Washington, I sent a letter in October to my Senator, Patty Murray about my concerns with Chained CPI. She is, of course, the co-chair of the current bipartisan budget group trying to come up with a budget solution. Her response was lengthy, with much commentary with how terrible the sequester was for the nation, but she made no mention of the Chained CPI issue that was the main point of my E-mail to her. I wrote back pointing this out and asked her to state her position on Chained CPI. I do not expect a reply which reveals where she is at on the issue now. Of course, her co-chair, Paul Ryan, is salivating at the prospect of the chained CPI passing.

On this issue the Republicans won by using bullying tactics. It is really a sad state of affairs for seniors and veterans