Voters have much to be angry with elected officials about this year, especially considering this is an election year where Democrats are in danger of losing their House and Senate majority status. None the less, the government is expected to announce that over 58 million Social Security recipients will yet again not see a COLA increase for monthly benefits.
Since 1975, Social Security benefits are adjusted for cost of living, COLA, based on the measure of inflation. This isn’t a substantial increase, as it’s generally only a 3% to 5% raise in benefit. However, for those using these benefits as their sole means of income, this increase can mean the difference in having to choose between eating and paying an electric bill.
If COLA increase is successfully denied, this will be the second year in a row, and only the second time since annual automatic adjustments to Social Security for inflation were adopted in 1975, that recipients will not receive an adjustment. See here for the story related to 2010 COLA.
The trustees that oversee Social Security have used inflation data for thus far 2010 to project that Social Security recipients will not see COLA for 2011. This projection is expected to be made official when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases September inflation estimates October 15, 2010.
Of course, COLA news is especially sour-tasting considering the Bureau of Labor Statistics just announced last Friday that 95,000 U.S. jobs were lost in September and unemployment remained at 9.6%.
It seemed very easy for this administration to hear the voice of young America complaining about what they are “owed” and “inalienable rights.” Meanwhile, the weak frail voice of our elderly and handicapped population falls on deaf ears and pitiless hearts. Maybe Berkley college students strapping themselves to trees are easier to see than the elderly person eating potted meat and saltines because that’s all they can afford or falling ill with pneumonia because they can‘t afford heat. Maybe issues like healthcare are more relatable to the general population than the plight of an elderly person trying to live off Social Security benefits. However, we all may eventually see such firsthand, as aging is one of the few certainties of living. If any thing is inalienable and owed, it’s that people forced to pay into a system designed to care for them in old age should indeed be “cared for.”
In closing, I would love to know where the Social Security trustees live that their cost of living hasn’t increased -?- The residents of my small town have had their garbage, water, and property tax millage rate increased this year. And, that’s not even getting into the higher cost of food, clothes, and shelter.