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The Progressive

'Giving It Away': Obama Caving on Social Security

President Obama is bending over way too far to reach a budget deal with John Boehner and the Republicans.

By tentatively agreeing to changing the formula for calculating the Consumer Price Index for people on Social Security, Obama has, in fact, agreed to cut the benefits of seniors.

Because the new CPI index doesn’t go up as fast as the traditional measure.

As a result, every year, seniors will receive less than they otherwise would have from Social Security.

And it’s not like they’re getting rich on Social Security as it is. The average monthly check is $1,230 – that’s less than fifteen grand a year.

And now grandma and grandpa aren’t even going to be keeping up with the rate of inflation as traditionally calculated.

Forcing seniors to make do with less on Social Security is not something Obama campaigned on, and it’s not something we need Democrats for.

But there were plenty of warnings.

It’s not like Boehner had to beat Obama into the ground on this. The President, it seems, was always prepared to give it away.

Obama’s first appointee to head the Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag, was in favor of this proposal.

And Obama appointed the Bowles-Simpson Commission, which lent momentum to this idea of cutting Social Security.

And Obama floated this idea of the new and reduced Consumer Price Index last summer when he tried then to get Boehner to sign on to the “grand bargain.”

Bernie Sanders warned us all during the campaign that Obama was wobbly on this issue, and worried about the President’s willingness to cave on the Consumer Price Index.

Sanders told Sam Stein of HuffingtonPost back in September that Obama was likely to throw seniors overboard with the so-called “chained CPI.”

And that’s where we are today.

It’s not like Boehner had to beat Obama into the ground on this. The President, it seems, was always prepared to give it away.

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Matthew Rothschild

Matthew Rothschild

Matthew Rothschild is senior editor of The Progressive magazine.

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