You can stop holding your breath.
There will be no raise, and if premiums for drug coverage increase, as expected, millions of beneficiaries will see their Social Security checks reduced for the first time.
For the first time in more than three decades, Social Security recipients will not get any increase in their benefits next year, federal forecasts show. Or, the year after that, it appears.
The absence of a cost-of-living adjustment, calculated under a formula set by law, will be a shock to older and disabled Americans already hit by plummeting home values, investment losses and rising health costs. More than 50 million people receive Social Security.
These forecasts, by the Obama administration and the Congressional Budget Office, indicate that Social Security beneficiaries will not receive any cost-of-living increase in 2010 or in 2011. The COLA is intended to preserve the purchasing power of Social Security, by increasing benefits to keep pace with consumer prices. In the last year, overall inflation has been low, largely because of the economic downturn and a decline in energy prices. However, many economists predict an inflationary period coming right at us, the impact of which will most adversely affect low income folks; those who are receiving Social Security Disability, including disabled Vets.
The entire issue of determining the value of the Consumer Price Index—–which is then used to determine appropriate cost of living adjustments is considered by some to be fraught with outright fraud, skewing the numbers against low and fixed income people.
Specifically, changes made in how the Consumer Price Index was determined during the 1990′s understated inflation significantly, and, through a cumulative effect with earlier changes that began in the late-Carter and early Reagan Administrations, have reduced current social security payments by roughly half from where they would have been otherwise.
Such travesties seem to always fall on the shoulders of those least able to handle the associated pressures and grim realities. More people than ever now choose what medications they can afford, and balance that against how much food they can afford to purchase for the month. Forget about any extra money. Already, many disabled and seniors simply do not participate in Christmas, for instance, or buying that favorite grandchild a special gift for their birthday.
So, amazingly, Social Security checks today would be about double had the various alterations not been made. In the same way, anyone involved in commerce, who relies on receiving payments adjusted for the CPI, has been similarly affected. Of course, on the other side, if you are making payments based on the CPI (i.e., the federal government), you are making out like a bandit.
Douglas W. Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, predicted that inflation would remain low for several years, so Social Security might not pay a cost-of-living increase until January 2013. President Obama’s budget assumes no increase in 2010 or 2011, then a 1.4 percent COLA in 2012.
Without too much trouble, one can fairly well see the handwriting on the wall. First, it is foolhardy to not expect inflation to occur—the facts do not give credibility to such assumptions. Since our national debt has increased by several trillion dollars just in recent history, this gives rise to an anticipated spike in prices—likely across the board. An economy cannot assume massive debt, and not expect inflation as one result.
Already, gasoline prices have increased roughly $.45 per gallon in the last 45 days. Perhaps this does not fit in the definition of inflation used by the Congressional Budget Office.
And the 50 million people receiving the ‘entitlement’ monies will suffer the most. Tighten your belt one more time, folks. We are in for a rough ride.
To ease the pain, here is some valuable, free information: (after bad news, free and valuable info is always good)
This is a database from the good folks at Natural News.com. It is a list of 540 popular medications, which examines each drug and its side effects, its nutritional depletions, the herbal interactions, and associated health notes. Please note this is not to be construed as medical advise, and is simply information to be used as you see fit.
Until next time,