April 16, 2013
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I urge you to sign the letter to President Obama from Reps. Theodore Deutch and Daniel Maffei opposing the president’s fiscal year 2014 budget proposal to use the “chained” Consumer Price Index (CPI) to cut to Social Security, veterans compensation, federal civilian and military retirement cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs).
Social Security is the most successful income security program in our nation’s history. It is an important economic lifeline for millions of America’s most vulnerable people, including seniors and persons with disabilities, as well as their spouses, dependents, and survivors. Social Security has not contributed to the federal debt, and therefore does not belong in a conversation about deficit reduction. The chained CPI would reduce projected benefits for the oldest and most vulnerable Americans, often older women, who would be least able to afford it. The Social Security Administration estimates that application of the chained CPI would result in a decrease of about $130 per year (0.9 percent) in Social Security benefits for a typical 65 year-old, and $1,400 per year (9.2 percent) by the time that senior reaches age 95.
While all beneficiaries will feel the impact of this change, its effect will be greatest on those who draw benefits at earlier ages (e.g., military retirees, disabled veterans and workers) and those who live the longest. These are often women who have outlived their other sources of income, have depleted their assets, and rely on Social Security as their only lifeline to financial stability.
For these reasons, we urge you to sign the Deutch/Maffei letter to the president opposing the chained CPI proposal. If you have any questions or would like to sign the letter, please contact Joel Richard in Congressman Deutch’s office at [email protected] (x5-3001) or Becky Cornell in Congressman Maffei’s office at [email protected] (x5-3701).
President and CEO
Stop Cuts to Social Security and Veterans’ Benefits
Oppose Chained CPI in the President’s Budget
Endorsed by the Strengthen Social Security Campaign
Current Cosigners: (19) Conyers, Kaptur, Waters, Nadler, Hastings, Holt, Langevin, Schiff, Michaud, Ellison, Wilson (FL), Chu, Deutch, Cicilline, Nolan, Maffei, Lowenthal, Shea-Porter, Vargas
Please join us in signing the below letter to President Obama asking that he reconsider his position regarding the shift to the chained-CPI. The chained-CPI has been suggested as one method of deficit reduction achieved by slowing the increase in benefits through cost-of-living adjustments. The problem is that the current index has not given beneficiaries overly generous increases in recent years and zero increase in both 2009 and 2010.
Our letter highlights the fact that the deficit issues facing the federal government are not based on problems with Social Security. We want a strong and solvent Social Security program. It may be time to consider reforms aimed at those goals, but it is not time to cut benefits to prop up the federal budget.
Secondly, we make clear that the chained-CPI is not an accurate measurement. There is no evidence that its accounting of purchasing substitution across categories of consumer goods actually reflects the habits of real beneficiaries. In fact, many seniors lack the flexibility to make these substitutions compared to younger workers.
Finally we emphasize that these cuts are real, that they will hurt retirees and will hit women and disabled Americans the hardest.
Theodore E. Deutch
MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Daniel B. Maffei
MEMBER OF CONGRESS