White House: Obama “Open” To Tying Social Security COLAs to Chained CPI

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The White House announced this week that President Obama is open to discussing a major change in the way the growth of Social Security benefits are calculated.

Obama is willing to consider linking Social Security cost-of-living adjustments to the chained Consumer Price Index (CPI).

COLAs are currently determined using Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners (CPI-W).

The change would result in lower benefit increases for retirees, because the Chained CPI has traditionally grown more slowly than the CPI-W.

The change wasn’t included in Obama’s budget – but the White House says the President is “open to the conversation”.

More from Washington Times:

The White House said Tuesday President Obama is willing to discuss with Republicans a measure to limit the growth of Social Security benefits, a proposal that Mr. Obama didn’t even include in his fiscal 2016 budget plan after it drew a hostile reaction from Democrats.


“We’re certainly open to that conversation with Republicans if they want to have a genuine conversation about strengthening Social Security,” [White House press secretary Josh] Earnest said. “But frankly, we’ve not gotten a lot of serious willingness on the part of Republicans to engage in that conversation.”

An aide to Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said the White House isn’t serious about addressing the nation’s debt crisis, including entitlement growth.

President Obama has a history of considering the COLA change; it was included in his 2014 budget before being dropped, and he brought the policy up in 2011, as well.

But Democrats are almost categorically opposed to the change, because of the reduced benefit growth that would result.

For an explanation of how linking COLAs to the chained CPI would alter benefits, click here.


 Photo by Diego Cambiaso via Flickr CC License

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