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Letters: Fairness for fixed-income seniors

December 21, 2012

Re "Calculating the cost of living," Editorial, Dec. 19

The editorial about the proposal to change to a "chained-CPI" for calculating cost-of-living increases for Social Security entirely misses the problem with using this type of calculation. It mentions that the current calculation doesn't consider the fact that if prices rise on meat, seniors on fixed incomes may replace meat with pasta.

The proposed changes, however, will necessitate that seniors continually downgrade their standard of living, eventually to the point that it won't be a choice between meat and pasta but between dog food and cat food.

Chained-CPI would force the standard of living downward by ignoring the true rate of inflation and instead calculating only the cost of items people are forced to choose because the cost of the actual needed item has risen.

Our lawmakers are saving money on the backs of retirees instead of increasing taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

Judy Wollesen


Instead of switching to the chained-CPI, a much more equitable approach would be to terminate the cost-of-living-adjustments for all Social Security recipients whose gross annual income is more than $100,000. For senior citizens who live on a fixed income, the COLA helps them to pay for increased prices of food, shelter, heat, prescription drugs and other basic amenities. For wealthy seniors, the COLA is just a drop in the bucket.

Means-testing for Social Security recipients and eliminating the COLA for the well-off does not constitute a cut in Social Security; it is an issue of fairness.

Howard P. Cohen

North Hills


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