Question: What is your position on changing the cost of living adjustment (COLA) from CPI-W, the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers to CPI-E, the experimental consumer price index, the inflation index which AARP (AARP Bulletin, December, 2016, p.30) believes more accurately reflects the spending patterns of older consumers placing more weight on spending for health care and housing and less weight on education and clothes?”
Thank you letter to Elected Officials below:
Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Gary Peters, Representative Huizenga
The MceZ Core Principle for March is CRITICAL THINKING
Subject: Social Security and COLA
What is your position on changing the cost of living adjustment (COLA) from CPI-W, the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers to CPI-E, the experimental consumer price index, the inflation index which AARP (AARP Bulletin, December, 2016, p.30) believes more accurately reflects the spending patterns of older consumers placing more weight on spending for health care and housing and less weight on education and clothes?”.
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D)
Thank you for contacting me about the news that Social Security beneficiaries will not receive a cost-of-living-adjustment next year. I understand how the lack of a COLA for 2016 presents hardship for you and your household. That is why I am a cosponsoring the Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits (SAVE) Act, along with my colleague, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts). Our bill would give a one-time payment of approximately $580 to people who receive Social Security and veterans benefits to make up for the lack of a COLA this year. You can count on my continued support as it moves through the legislative process. Our seniors should never be forced to choose between buying groceries and filling their prescriptions. As a member of the Senate Defending Social Security Caucus, you can count on me to continue to fight for the fair benefits our seniors have worked so hard for and deserve.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please continue to keep me informed about issues of concern to you and your family.
United States Senator
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow
The United States Senate • Washington, DC 20510
Senator Gary Peters (D)
February 23, 2017
Dear Ms. Beck,
Thank you for contacting me regarding Social Security. I appreciate you taking the time to express your views. Your input is, and will always be, welcomed and appreciated.
I strongly support our nation’s Social Security system. Over 2.1 million people—including seniors, people with disabilities, and their families—benefit from Social Security in Michigan. Since its creation in 1935, Social Security has proven its worth and has been tremendously successful in ensuring a dignified retirement for millions of seniors. The support Social Security offers has kept millions of senior citizens and people with disabilities out of poverty. We cannot break our promise to Americans who have worked their entire lives and contributed their fair share into the Social Security system, and we must maintain a steadfast commitment to protecting hardworking, low-income families.
I have consistently worked to protect hard-earned Social Security benefits. For instance, I have opposed any efforts to increase the retirement age and have fought attempts to privatize Social Security. I have also stood up against proposals to a use Chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) for determining benefits, which would reduce earned benefits over time for older Americans. In addition, I believe Congress must address provisions in current law that have led to very little or no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for recipients in recent years. In 2015, I cosponsored the Seniors and Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act, introduced by Senator Warren. It would have provided roughly 70 million beneficiaries a one-time raise of $581, or 3.9 percent of the average annual Social Security benefit.
I am committed to finding a long-term solution that protects monthly benefits and does not cut services. Social Security has never missed a payment during its nearly eighty years of existence, and we must take bipartisan action to ensure its long-term solvency for future generations. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to craft responsible legislation that honors our commitment to our nation's seniors and people with disabilities and protects important financial security programs.
Thank you again for contacting me. I always enjoy hearing from you and hope that you take the time to contact me again soon. For more information, please feel free to visit my website, http://www.peters.senate.gov, or find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @SenGaryPeters.
Gary C. Peters
United States Senator
Representative Bill Huizenga (R)
October 22, 2015
Dear Congressman Huizenga:
Thank you for your prompt response (October 15, 2015) to the question: What is your position on no COLA for Social Security 2016 (October 13)? It is appreciated.
You write, “Social Security is an important government program and for nearly 70 years, it has provided supplemental retirement security for tens of millions of Americans. Indeed, four
generations of Americans have relied upon the program to deliver on the promises it made
during their working years. We must not change the system for people my parents' age that
are already relying on Social Security.”
Is it to be inferred from this statement that although you understand the
hardship imposed on low income taxpayers who have social security as their only or significant source of income, you are 1) powerless to address the issue of no COLA for 2016 2) unwilling to address the issue of no COLA 3). you feel no COLA is a hardship that needs to be endured by those receiving this so-called “entitlement”? A direct answer would be appreciated.
You also write: However, the current system cannot sustain itself and the day will arrive when Congress may be forced to reduce benefits or increase taxes, neither of which is desirable. Without reform, Social Security will be unable to fully meet the promises to the next generation of retirees. Ideas to discuss could include raising the retirement age for those beginning their careers, creating incentives for personal retirement, and reviewing proposals like progressive indexing. We must uphold our commitment to current retirees and ensure that our children and grandchildren will also enjoy a secure retirement and that any changes to the system don't have unintended consequences for people that are in their retirement years.”
While there is talk of reforming the system, you are being asked how you see
your role regarding your constituents who are seniors, veterans and low income who rely heavily on social security to pay their expenses including Medicare premiums which are reported to increase for 2016? Please provide data showing the demographics of taxpayers in your district receiving social security benefits including age, race, status and median income.
Further you write, “Concerning your opposition to a "chained" Consumer Price Index (CPI), news articles have reported that recent budget discussion have included a "chained" CPI. To my knowledge, no formal bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that addressees adjusting Social Security Income with the "chained" yearly benefit adjustment.”
One question was posed and did not express opposition to a “chained” CIP in
my letter; however, since you introduced the term, please provide a definition of the term.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to these serious questions that impact
future deliberation and political consideration.