Wednesday’s editorial argues that Congress should send an extra Social Security check to the people who depend on it the most, but not to all recipients.
It's now official although by no means unexpected: There will be no automatic cost of living increase for Grand Strand seniors receiving Social Security and other federal retirement payments. To ease the impact a bit, President Obama and congressional Democratic leaders propose $250 payments to 57 million Americans. This would be a second $250 payment, the first coming earlier this year as part of the economic stimulus package.
It isn't only Social Security recipients who are affected. Those receiving federal pensions and disabled veterans benefits will receive no increases.
In the mid-1970s, the government established the COLA increase to ``ensure that its subsidies to retirees, pension recipients and others who receive Social Security benefits kept pace with inflation,'' Washington Post staff writers Amy Goldstein and Neil Irwin report in an Oct. 15 article.
The formula is tied to the Consumer Price Index, which dropped by 1.3 percent in the July-to-September quarter. The Labor Department says the drop in consumer prices reflects lower prices for fuel and many types of food. These prices fell during the global recession after having risen sharply, which lead to the 5.8 percent increase the previous year, ``the largest increase in more than a quarter-century,'' quoting the Washington Post article.
Voting against a second $250
payment to seniors will not be easy, even for Republicans who oppose any and
all proposals of the Democratic administration. Those 57 million senior
citizens live in all 435 congressional districts and they tend to be voters who
pay attention to pocketbook issues. However, at least one Democrat, House
Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of
Many seniors everywhere depend
heavily on Social Security. Again quoting the Post article, ``The average
retiree gets a monthly check of about $1,150. It provides 40 percent of all
income received by elderly people in the
Those seniors are unlikely to have
relocated to the Grand Strand or anywhere else. They cannot afford to move.
S.C. seniors account for 13 percent of the state's population and 16.6 percent
S.C. representatives and senators should work in both houses of Congress to find an intelligent way to help seniors who are largely dependent on Social Security. Congress need not spend $13 billion or more and the money should come from an existing revenue stream, such as stimulus funds appropriated but not spent.