Pingree Urges President to Reconsider His Proposed Cuts to SS

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,403)

A part of President Obama’s budget proposal for 2014 includes a cut to the yearly increase those on social security receive  monthly.  It’s the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) upon which those slight increases are based.

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D) has joined House colleagues in sending a letter urging President Obama to reconsider proposed budget cuts to Social Security and other benefit programs by adopting a chained (CPI).

“Whatever you call it, a chained CPI amounts to a benefit cut for a lot of people who are barely getting by as is.  Social Securit benefits have not contributed one penny to the debt, so seniors should not be the ones forced to pay for it,” said Pingress in a press release issued by her office this morning.  “There are more humane ways to reduce the deficit without hurting people’s ability to cover essential costs of living.  We should start by closing tax loopholes and implementing responsible tax rates for millionaires and billionaires.”

“What’s frustrating is that this proposal implies that seniors, disabled veterans and military retirees are getting lavish increases, which couldn’t be further from the truth.  For many in Maine, these earned benefits are their only source of income and they struggle to make it from check to check,” said Pingree.  “If we want to talk about Social Security reforms, it should be about making the program stronger for beneficiaries.  What we should be doing is adopting a CPI that better reflects a senior’s costs and raising the income cap on contribitions.”

The letter that Pingree and her House colleagues sent to President Obama said in part:

“The chained-CPI will disproportionately hurt women and cut veterans’ disabality benefits.  The average yearly benefit for women is $2,000 less than for men, women rely more heavily on Social Security as a greater proportion of their retirement income and live longer than men.  Finally,we should not forget that veterans would also be hit with enormous cuts.  A fully disabled veteran who began receiving benefits at age 30 would have a yearly benefit cut of $3,200 by age 65.  We simply cannot do that to our veterans……The  chained-CPI does not add balance to a defici reduction plan, but it will cut the hard-earned benefits of millions of Americans.  We cannot support this approach.”