Re "Obama's entitlement gambit," Opinion, April 10
The current calculation used to determine adjustments to Social Security benefits is based on the cost of living for an urban worker, not a senior. Therefore, it doesn't account for the greater percentage of income the average senior spends on healthcare. Because the cost of healthcare rises faster than other necessities, even the current formula does not adequately protect seniors from inflation.
Switching to the "chained CPI" to determine payouts, as President Obama proposed to do in his 2014 budget, would only make a bad situation worse.
This debate over entitlements is about a long-term solution to a long-term problem. Much more important than getting a deal is getting a good solution.
Can we get a good solution now? Of course not. The partisan divide is deep.
If the president is so concerned with his legacy, maybe he should start doing more of the right things, like restoring traditional tax rates on the wealthiest. Today, CEOs and financiers pay much lower effective federal tax rates than doctors. That is socially unsound.
And if Obama wants to help Social Security, he should start by lifting the cap on taxable earnings.
Doyle McManus suggests the president is doing "the kind of thing a second-term president can do." Later, he says the president's proposal is evidence that he "still yearns for a grand bargain."
The former declaration is an empty explanation, while the latter justification provokes the question: A grand bargain for whom? Certainly not for the elderly and disabled dependent on Social Security.
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