Monday, April 29, 2013

Is the Chained CPI the Right Fix for Social Security?

One of the most controversial elements of President Obama’s 2014 budget is the proposal to reduce future cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security benefits by changing the inflation index. The Social Security Administration now bases inflation adjustments to on the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W), a close cousin of the more widely publicized CPI for all urban consumers (CPI-U). The administration proposal would instead use a relatively new index called the chained CPI, or C-CPI-U, which, in the past, has increased slightly less rapidly. Predictably, deficit hawks love the idea, while seniors and those who defend their interests hate it. Suppose, though, that we set ideology and interest group politics aside to look at the underlying economics of the issue. On those terms, is the switch to the chained CPI the right fix for Social Security? >>>Read more

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