Chaining down the money you’ve earned: the debate over Chained CPI

Posted by – April 11, 2013

The debate over Chained CPI has been heating up all over the country and all over the web.

What’s Chained CPI?
Congressman Ellison explains.

Rep. Ellison recorded this video in December. If he were recording today, he’d mention that PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA is the driving force behind Chained CPI, despite its intense unpopularity on all sides. This is a video of Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee, calling Chained CPI a “Shocking Attack On Seniors.”

The AARP is organizing against this, and the Republicans are going to use this against President Obama in the 24/7 campaign season for sure (and that’s already begun).

Chained CPI is so awful because it imposes costs on those who can least afford it, doesn’t bridge yawning budget gaps, and reinforces the false right-wing “out of control entitlements” talking point. In fairness to conservatives, they’re opposing Chained CPI, and right now the only people pushing this are from a certain, grotesque strand of neoliberalism…. Barack Obama is making this draconian plan the centerpiece of his 2014 budget proposal, David Axelrod defends it with ease on TV, and founding director of the Congressional Budget Office Alice Rivlin calls it “absolutely necessary.”

The disability community has to unite on this, and fight back with the full-throated message that we’ve earned Social Security, it isn’t an entitlement! The entire “social insurance” concept is that it’s an earned benefit. With every paycheck, a worker pays into Social Security, pays pays pays pays pays, and when they retire they receive that earned benefit. The earned benefit usually amounts to around $14,000 a year, meager, well beneath the poverty line, and that is what neoliberals want chained down as an “out of control entitlement.”

“We’re not going to have the White House forever, folks. If he doesn’t do this, Paul Ryan is going to do it for us in a few years,” said a longtime Obama aide…

This kind of thinking, “give me your lunch money now, or the big bully down the hall will take it and you won’t like how he does it” from the White House is disturbing, and a bad omen (the correct answer is “no, I’d prefer the dignity of a public fight with the enemy to a silent surrender to a quisling”).

Unless we can create a groundswell of opposition to chains and chainsaw policies, the future for the elderly and disabled is indeed bleak.

The oddball lefty blog Crooks & Liars has the best, most comprehensive sources and lib commentary on Chained CPI that I’ve seen in the leftosphere so far. Hat tip to them.

Nick

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