Why the Left Hates 'Chained CPI'

Obama's proposed Social Security changes are not popular with liberals

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 7, 2013 1:31 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Obama is making some concessions to Republicans in his new budget, and there's one that has particularly rankled the Democrats' ranks, reports MSNBC: A proposal to change the way Social Security benefits are determined by linking it to something called "chained CPI." So what is it and why don't liberals like it, asks the Week. Chained CPI is an alternative way of measuring cost of living adjustments to the regular Consumer Price Index. It assumes that when the price of a product or service goes up, people switch to a cheaper option. The result is a lower estimated cost of living adjustment.

"This is, purely and simply, a benefit cut," writes Paul Krugman in the New York Times. The move will reduce the deficit, but also reduce Social Security payments for seniors—a particularly bad kick in the teeth, he says, because they typically have a higher cost of living than average, thanks to medical expenses. By 2030, the median payment would be 3% less than under the standard CPI, reports CNNMoney. AARP has created a handy tool to calculate how much your own Social Security, veterans' disability, or military pension benefits will be cut.

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks during an Easter Prayer Breakfast in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, April 5, 2013.
President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks during an Easter Prayer Breakfast in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, April 5, 2013.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Barack Obama's proposal to change the way Social Security benefits are calculated is not popular with many in his own party.
Barack Obama's proposal to change the way Social Security benefits are calculated is not popular with many in his own party.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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