Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds voted against helping sick veterans yesterday, so they probably won’t support helping senior citizens weather inflation, either.
The 8%+ inflation rates of the last three months are eroding the purchasing power of Social Security checks, which got a 5.9% cost-of-living adjustment for 2022. Democratic Congressman Pete DeFazio of Oregon and independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont would like to solve that problem by sending Social Security recipients another $2,400 a year:
The new bill would seek to lessen the strain on people collecting Social Security by boosting each recipient’s monthly check by $200 — an annual increase of $2,400 [Aimee Picchi, “Social Security Bill Would Give Seniors an Extra $2,400 a Year. Here’s How It Would Work,” CBS News, 2022.06.16].
…doing more accurate economic math:
One of the primary changes would be to base the annual COLA on the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), rather than the current index that the Social Security Administration uses for its calculation — the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).
The CPI-E more accurately reflects seniors’ spending patterns, according to experts on Social Security. For instance, it puts more weight on health care expenses, which can be considerable for senior citizens.
If the CPI-E had been used to index the annual COLA for Social Security, a senior who filed for Social Security benefits over 30 years ago would have received about $14,000 more in retirement than compared with the CPI-W, according to the Senior Citizens League [Picchi, 2022.06.16].
…and paying for it:
The bill would also make several additional changes to the program, including buttressing the program’s funding by applying the Social Security payroll tax on all income above $250,000. Currently, earnings above $147,000 aren’t subject to the Social Security tax.
Alas, Senator Thune’s idea of social security is having an AR-15 to shoot varmints. I don’t think we can count on either him or Rounds to offer any solutions as practical as DeFazio and Sanders are offering to help seniors now and pay for it.