Obama Budget to Drop Benefit Cost-of-Living Trims 1


I received an email about this news, so I went searching for an article with the details.  I found that ABC News had the article Obama Budget to Drop Benefit Cost-of-Living Trims.  I place ABC News only a fraction of a step above Faux Noise, but I’ll give you a few quotes from the story so you get the gist.

President Barack Obama will propose an election-year budget that would drop reductions he had previously embraced in federal benefits, officials disclosed Thursday. He also will ask Congress to approve about $56 billion in new or expanded programs, stepping back from aggressive efforts to tackle long-term government deficits and debt.
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Republicans promptly portrayed the White House move as abandoning any commitment to fiscal discipline.

“The one and only idea the president has to offer is even more job-destroying tax hikes, and that non-starter won’t do anything to save the entitlement programs that are critical to so many Americans,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.

I suppose you can’t blame ABC News for repeating what Speaker Boner had to say.  So I wish that the Obama administration would come out first about how these tax cuts are destroying jobs and need to be stopped.  The reason why the tax cuts are job destroying is that they take money away from government that would spend it on buying stuff that creates jobs, but instead the money is retained by the wealthy who can’t possibly spend all the money they already have.  So the wealthy put the money from the tax cuts into bogus Wall Street gambling schemes that don’t put anybody to work.

Now here is one that you can blame ABC News for.

The proposed cost-of-living trims, supported by many Republicans and now put aside by Obama, would use a different inflation index to adjust annual benefit payments. Many economists believe the alternative formula, called a “chained consumer price index,” better reflects consumer spending behavior.

What ABC News doesn’t tell you is that there may be more economists that believe the current inflation index underestimates the impact of inflation on the elderly.  If there needs to be an inflation index to determine cost of living adjustments, there should be a special one for how seniors spend their money.  (Well, there actually already is one.)  Using this index would give seniors even higher cost of living adjustments than they currently get.

See the Bureau of Labor Statistics web page Consumer Price Index for the elderly.

BLS also calculates an experimental CPI for the elderly, or CPI-E, by using households whose reference person or spouse is 62 years of age or older.

Could ABC News be so ignorant that they are unaware of this index and the economists who promote it?  For that matter, one has to wonder if President Obama is also ignorant of this index.  What about the Republicans in Congress?  Anyone who is unaware of the this BLS index ought not be making budget decisions for our government.


I found a more reliable source to misrepresent the story. The Los Angeles Times story is Obama backs away from a Republican budget priority.

The president’s now-abandoned proposal to replace the consumer price index with a new formula for cost-of-living increases called “chained CPI” would probably have resulted in savings in programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Obama had indicated his support for chained CPI in battles with Republicans over the debt ceiling and government funding, starting in 2011.

Why no mention of the CPI-E, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer price Index For the Elderly?  Not only is chained CPI not a better measure of elderly spending compared to what is used now, it is actually a worse measure than what we use now – see CPI-E above.

Does the media have any responsibility to educate its readers?  Or does it only have to report what a few sides of the argument are?  Is this what is called balanced reporting?

When the President is wrong and the Republicans are wrong and this newspaper knows it, is it really being a newspaper to keep this a secret?


Do you ever ask yourself, how come I know more about these matters than the professional reporters seem to know? What am I paying them for anyway? Well, of course, I am reading this on the web so I am not paying them anything for the shoddy reporting. And they are getting everything from me that their reporting is worth.


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