Advocates across the nation and in Vermont are raising red flags over President Obama’s inclusion of a Chained CPI in the proposed budget proposal. The system would use the Chained Consumer Price Index as the cost-of–living adjustment for Social Security, Medicare, veterans and other programs. Opponents say it will in essence cut benefits to those programs.
The Chained CPI was initially proposed in the Simpson-Bowles fiscal proposal that has since been supplanted by the sequester. It would calculate the annual cost of living adjustments based on consumer price index changes. Critics say that will reduce benefits to seniors, veterans and those with disabilities.
National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare Director of Government Relations and Policy Dan Adcock says the average person who began collecting benefits at 62 and is now 65 would lose 130 dollars in the first year. By the time the person reaches age 95, he or she will lose 14-hundred dollars a year.
AARP Vermont Director Greg Marchildon says his group has polling that shows overwhelming non-partisan opposition to the Chained CPI.
Marchildon says thousands of Vermonters are at risk if the Chained CPI is approved.
Vermont Republican Party Chair Jack Lindley, who is a Social Security recipient, says the status quo is not sustainable and if any fiscal progress is to be made all programs must participate in changes.
University of Vermont Associate Professor of Economics Art Wolfe says there are numerous ways the government measures inflation, and the Chained CPI is more accurate than what has been conventionally used.
Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders is speaking today at a rally in Washington expressing opposition to the Chained CPI.