Archived Messages From the President
February 1st, 2016
The press release below was released to the media to express RetireSafe’s concern with the 2016 COLA. RetireSafe has worked year after year to obtain co-sponsors for HR 3074, The CPI for Seniors Act. It has been one of our most important goals for three congresses. We will continue to fight for passage of this important bill.
Washington, D.C., October 15, 2015 – The Social Security Administration announced today that there will be no cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for 2016. Seniors all over America will once again feel the brunt of a flawed and broken consumer price index (CPI), a CPI that is calculated on the buying and spending habits of urban wage earners rather than older Americans. By passing the CPI for Seniors Act (HR 3074) Congress could take the first step in correcting this flawed and injurious process.
Experts cited the lower cost of gasoline as a big reason why there will be no COLA this year, a perfect example of how the CPI calculation is flawed. Older Americans don’t drive as much as urban wage earners, some of them don’t drive at all. Gasoline is a small part of their total expenses yet their COLA is driven down because the Government doesn’t base their calculations on seniors. This type of erroneous calculation is what hurts older Americans.
The CPI for Seniors Act, (HR 3074), takes a critical first step in fixing this flawed calculation. It simply asks the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to calculate a CPI based on the buying and spending habits of seniors and report their findings to Congress. No mandate, no directive for use, just report their findings to Congress. BLS has had the ability to do this for years, they have been calculating an Experimental Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) since 1987 and, while flawed because if it’s inaccurate selection criteria and size, it certainly shows that it won’t take much to fix the problems and come up with an accurate CPI for Seniors. Once Congress has this accurate information they can then decide how best to correct this COLA problem once and for all.
This flawed COLA affects seniors everywhere. At a senior Expo a few weeks ago and, as part of a small survey, RetireSafe asked seniors if their Social Security check kept up with inflation. Of the 146 people who answered this question 28 said it did keep up while 118 said their check didn’t keep up with inflation. Over the last six years over 80% of seniors have consistently said their checks didn’t buy as much that year as it did the year before and have expressed the burden it puts on them year after year. It is a travesty that this problem hasn’t been fixed. Seniors don’t want a hand-out, they just want a fair COLA. The CPI for Seniors Act (HR 3074) is the first step in getting the COLA fixed and solving this problem once and for all.