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I wrote last week about the Obama administration's apparent terrible, horrible, no good, very bad support for cutting social security benefits under the guise of a technical fix, namely changing from using the consumer price index (CPI) to "chained CPI" to adjust S.S. benefits for inflation (and the same change would apply to other benefits and to setting tax brackets).

In a letter to the NY Times, Bernie tells more about what's at stake in the battle over chained CPI:

To the Editor,
Re “Misguided Social Security ‘Reform’ ” (editorial, Jan. 13):

I share your concern that President Obama has been too eager to go along with Congressional Republicans to reduce Social Security benefits by lowering cost-of-living adjustments for millions of retirees, widows and orphans. The consequences of shifting to a “chained” Consumer Price Index would be even worse than you described.

The chained C.P.I. would take benefits away from more than three million disabled veterans and their families. A veteran who began receiving V.A. disability benefits at 30 would have benefits reduced by $1,425 at 45 and by $3,231 at 65, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The chained C.P.I. would also result in across-the-board tax increases with a disproportionate effect on working families. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, switching to a chained C.P.I. would increase taxes by $59.6 billion over the next decade. More than three-quarters of the new revenue raised by the year 2021 would come from Americans making less than $200,000 a year.

Those making between $30,000 and $40,000 would be hit the hardest, while those making more than $1 million would see virtually no change.

At a time when corporations are enjoying record profits and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider, there are better ways to reduce the deficit than cutting programs for the elderly, veterans and the sick.

Burlington, Vt., Jan. 14, 2013

Originally posted to kenm on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 10:50 PM PST.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders.

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