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Cost-of-living bill would be smart move

By Larry Penner

California Congressman John Garamendi’s introduction of House Bill 1251 makes sense.

This bill would require the use of the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) instead of the current Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) when determining annual cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security, federal employees retirement annuities and veterans’ benefits.

The current COLA calculation fails to accurately measure seniors’ spending, especially in the area of health care.

In 2016, health care inflation was 4.1 percent, while the CPI-W indicated the average price of consumer goods increased only 0.3 percent.

For those over the age of 62, 12 percent of their spending goes toward health care while the general younger population spends just 5 percent.

The fact that we do not use the CPI-E already is disappointing.

Instead, cost-of-living adjustments for seniors collecting Social Security and federal civilian or military retirement benefits are based on the costs experienced by urban wage earners and clerical workers.

They are not based on the costs experienced by retired individuals. For many, the 2017 COLA of 0.3% amounted to only several dollars.

Why not ask your local Congress member to join 25 others who have signed up as co-sponsor?

Also ask U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to introduce the same legislation in the Senate.

Larry Penner

Great Neck

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