WASHINGTON -- Elizabeth Warren would like to send every senior citizen and disabled veteran in America a check for $580.
The Democratic senator from Massachusetts said she thinks seniors got a raw deal when the Social Security Administration announced last month that, because prices haven't risen in the past year, Social Security benefits wouldn't be going up, either.
"Social Security benefits are supposed to be indexed to inflation so that benefits rise when prices go up," says a press release announcing Warren's Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act. "But Congress’s formula is volatile and does a poor job of reflecting what older Americans actually spend."
Arguing that the government's measurement of inflation is wrong, Warren's office said her bill would give seniors and veterans a one-time lump sum of about $580, or roughly 3.9 percent of their annual benefits. The percentage represents the average increase in compensation for CEOs last year, the release says.
The cost of the bill would be offset by ending a tax "loophole" that allows businesses to write off performance-based executive compensation. Republicans control Congress and are unlikely to support the legislation.
Warren and other Democrats have proposed changing the way the government measures inflation for Social Security and other programs. Falling gasoline prices held down the government's current measure of inflation, but would have had less of an effect on an alternate measure that Democrats say better reflects seniors' spending habits. Still, going by that measure would have only yielded a 0.6 percent boost in benefits next year.
Arthur Delaney is a co-host of the "So That Happened" politics podcast: