The Social Security Administration just announced Social Security's COLA or cost-of-living adjustment for 2017, and it is tiny. Retirees will likely see just a $4.00 increase (.03 percent) in their checks beginning in January.
Social Security is perhaps the most treasured federal government benefit, valued by Democratic and Republican voters alike. But, Republicans in Congress are out of touch with their constituents, both their desires and their needs.
Current and future Democratic lawmakers now have an opportunity to do the right thing by joining the growing Boost Social Security movement and supporting legislation which would improve benefits while also strengthening the program's long-term outlook.
Beyond being highly controversial, as well as being bad policy, chained CPI was also akin to a unicorn let loose in the arena of the bipartisan deficit reduction "grand bargain" game. But the GOP could not do the work needed to catch it. And now it's dead.
President Obama's new budget is a solid blueprint that would reduce deficits, alleviate poverty, and boost investment in areas needed for future economic growth, such as infrastructure, education, and research.
Most media coverage of the president's decision not to include the "chained CPI" for cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security and other retirement programs in his 2015 budget has left out a key point to understanding the announcement.
If the chained CPI was merely a one-time fakeout which had already been discarded, why were the president's aides so evasive on the topic in recent weeks? This has all the hallmarks of a last-minute decision, driven by escalating political heat from the left.
The White House has confirmed that President Obama won't include the "chained CPI" (a formula for reducing cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security benefits) in his 2015 budget. It's clear that it was a political calculus that prompted this step today -- but we have to be vigilant and prepared for a renewed battle over the chained CPI in the near future.