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Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:12 PM

The offer of the Chained CPI is a 'Brilliant Strategy'! Could someone explain this please? [View all]

Last edited Wed Dec 26, 2012, 10:49 PM - Edit history (1)

Republicans turned down the President's latest offer to reduce the Deficit, an offer that included what has been described as a 'stealth way to cut SS benefits'.

All over the country the inclusion of these cuts to SS in the offer has mobilized a huge Coalition of Democratic/Progressive Organizations, the Unions, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Bernie Sanders, AARP, SS advocacy groups, Senior Advocacy Groups, Disabled Organizations and millions of ordinary Americans to call their Senators to demand that they refuse to accept this offer and to go further, to demand it be removed from the Deficit Discussions where it clearly does not belong.

Republicans are also being bombarded with calls.

There are daily action alerts to remove the Chained CPI from any further offers.

Nancy Pelosi has unbelievably said she will 'support the President on the Chained CPI' because, she incredibly stated, 'it will strengthen SS'. See here:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022042171

In the face of the fact that all of these huge organizations and some of the Democratic Leadership actually believe that the President was serious about this offer, we are being told that 'he is just playing games with Republicans' that 'he doesn't mean it' ]and that this is a 'brilliant strategy'.

I have tried to figure out how putting SS on the Deficit Discussion table can do anything other than create the impression that it belongs there, furthering the Republican lie that SS ever had anything to do with the Deficit. This is a dangerous game to play with SS.

Republicans, thankfully, turned down this offer. But they did not turn it down because of the cuts to SS, they turned it down because of the Tax Increases to the Wealthy.

So here is where I am having a problem with the claim that putting SS cuts on the Deficit Table is so brilliant.

Republicans would have turned down any offer that had tax increases for the wealthy. If the 'game' is to make them look like obstructionists, then all that was needed was to focus on those tax increases on the wealthy, a very popular policy with the American people.

There was no need to include cuts to SS in order to force Republicans to do exactly as expected.

I would love someone to explain to me why, when making the offer to Republicans, Democrats did not take the popular position of stating something like this:

Republicans do not want the wealthiest Americans to have to pay their share. Unfortunately, after 12 years of tax cuts the wealthy must now start contributing to reducing the deficit which was created by wars and tax cuts and now we must face the consequences of those policies.

They want us to include cuts to SS and Medicare in these discussions. We have refused to do so since SS had nothing to do with the Deficit.

We have made a fair offer and we are hoping Republicans will accept it so that we can get on with the job we are all here to do, work for the benefit if the American people.


Republicans would not have accepted it. The President would have come out of it looking like a defender of the American People. He would have been able to show that Republicans are the ones who want to cut SS and that they will fight FOR the Wealthy while taking from Retirees, the Disabled, Veterans and Dependent children. THAT to me would have been a 'brilliant strategy'.

Instead, Republicans are actually now getting credit for stopping cuts to SS however inadvertently while millions of Americans are angry at Democrats for risking SS cuts when they did not need to.

So how on earth does including the Chained CPI become some kind of brilliant strategy? So far I have seen no explanation of these claims.


Some clear statements from real Democrats in Congress on the inclusion of the Chained CPI in any offers related to the Deficit:

'Unacceptable': Democrats Sound Off on 'Chained' CPI Proposal

Democrats in the House are speaking out against a proposed Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) cut known as the “chained” CPI, which would severely harm the elderly and people with disabilities.

Here are some highlights and videos of written and public statements:

Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.):

Social Security has nothing to do with the debt problems that we're facing now. The seniors and disabled should not be held hostage by the Republicans. Their only priority in this debate is to protect America's wealthiest citizens. Under former President Bush, our nation financed two wars on the credit card and senior citizens should not be collateral damage. We lost trillions of dollars through irresponsible tax cuts and let's be clear, tax cuts are the same as spending when it comes to the deficit. And now the Republican Party's proposed solution is to make up the difference from taking money from seniors. That is unacceptable.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.):

In order to shield the wealthiest Americans from paying Clinton-era tax rates, Republicans are demanding cuts to programs that benefit the poorest Americans. Inequality in the United States is the worst it has been since the Gilded Age, and their cuts would make it worse, not better.

One proposal is to reduce Social Security’s annual cost-of-living adjustment through the use of the so-called chained CPI. It’s a benefit cut—pure and simple— an average earner retiring in 2011 at age 65 would lose $6,000 in benefits over 15 years. It’s particularly devastating for women—who live longer, rely more on Social Security and receive lower benefits.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.):

Everyone has a grandparent, a friend or a neighbor who relies on the Social Security benefits they earned to pay for medical care, food and housing. A move toward chained CPI would be a long-term benefit cut for every single person who receives a Social Security check.

The current average earned benefit for a 65-year-old on Social Security is $17,134. Using chained CPI will result in a $6,000 loss for retirees in the first 15 years of retirement and adds up to a $16,000 loss over 25 years. This change would be devastating to beneficiaries, especially widowed women, more than a third of whom rely on the program for 90% of their income and use every single dollar of the Social Security checks they've earned. This would require the most vulnerable Americans to dig further into their savings to fill the hole left by unnecessary and irresponsible cuts to Social Security.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.):

The less money our Social Security recipients—including 9 million veterans—are able to spend, the less money goes to the businesses that create jobs. "Chained" CPI makes life harder for millions of retirees, weakens Social Security and doesn’t reduce the deficit by a penny. It’s a Beltway fig leaf that I will never support, and I call on my colleagues to make their feelings known as soon as possible before this becomes yet another piece of conventional wisdom that makes things worse.

Lifting the cap on high earners paying into Social Security is a real fix that would make the program solvent indefinitely. If we want to talk about solutions, let’s talk about that, not inventing reasons to take money from American retirees.


Are these Democrats too blind to see the 'brilliance' of including SS cuts in any offer to Republicans?

If so, someone needs to explain why. Otherwise, I am with them and with all the others who are currently working to make sure it is removed from further discussions of the Deficit.

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