Sunday, April 21, 2013

Obama's Social Security proposal's flaws, with myths

In light of President Obama's announcement that he will use a "chained-CPI" for social security benefits means he is using the same sort of scare tactics the Republicans have used for the past 30 years, and puts him to the right of Ronald Reagan in economics, from the Keynesian camp to the voodoo laissez-faire Chicago School of Psuedoeconomics.

First of all, there are multiple consumer price indexes. Wikipedia lists 4 different indexes, one of which Social Security uses. Social Security uses the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) to calculate the cost of living adjustment for social security benefits. The CPI-W is a very good measure, and it is defined here:

Obama's Chained CPI is a real measure, and Investopedia shows how it is a wildly different measure which assumes that people will use less expensive products all the time, which presents a few problems. First of all, since Medicare doesn't pay for all Senior health expenses (like nursing homes) they have a lot of medical expenses that they cannot get cheaper for a different price, and comes out of their paycheck. They cannot get a cheaper product and the Chained-CPI is a bad measure for determining that group's cost of living. Second, it is a real dilution and not very useful, because it is never an accurate adjustment because people don't always buy the least expensive thing, either for moral reasons (like how I never shop at Wal-Mart given a choice) or personal choice. (something made by Apple as opposed to another product) Third, it purposefully dilutes the consumer price index by not accurately representing the increase of price of the items in question, which shows how it should be abandoned. CPI-W is a good measurement which calculates inflation based on over 8,000 items, which makes an accurate measure which doesn't allow any one item to throw off the COLA for Social Security which insures that social security payments will be adjusted accurately.

There is no reason to change the payments that Social Security makes every year, it continues to run a surplus and if Obama's plan passes seniors will find that their payments will drop considerably, which will hurt the economy.

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