Social Security

2016 Social Security COLA heading south at the moment

Search “COLA” on this blog for latest updates on this topic. It is updated each month. See June 2015 update https://quinnscommentary.com/2015/06/18/no-2016-social-security-cola/

Figuring the next Social Security COLA is easy, projecting what it will be is not so easy. While it’s still quite early for a 2016 prediction, we can see an early trend. That trend shows declining inflation with the result of a lower COLA.

imageBut don’t take my word for it, you can do the simple calculation. The COLA is based on the change in the CPI-W from one year to the next. The calculation uses the average CPI-W for the months of July, August and September each year. That means for 2016 those are the base months in 2014. (2015 over 2014 determines COLA for January 2016).

Those months are highlighted in yellow below. October and November of 2014 are highlighted in pink. As you can see, October and November CPI-W figures are already lower than the previous three months.

If, a big if, this trend continues, there will be little or no COLA in 2016. No need to panic, there is a long way to go and a lot can happen. But if you track this each month you won’t be surprised next October when the actual number is announced. You can find this chart update each month on SSA.gov

Sign up to follow Quinnscommentary or check back often for the latest updates on Social Security. COLA info is updated around the 17th of each month.  

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers declined 0.4 percent in December after falling 0.3 percent in November. The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged in December after rising 0.1 percent in November.

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77 replies »

  1. Yes, social security is not getting any increase in January 2016 but Medicare Part B will increase about $50.00 a month. Where is a person suppose to cut back into order to have $50.00 less in their Social Security. I wonder how that amount was calculated. Our Federal employees (senators, representative, etc.) do not receive Social Security. They receive a Federal Annuity. Why doesn’t everyone receive Social Security instead of having two different retirement plans ?

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    • Federal workers including congress do pay SS taxes. Before 1984 they didn’t, but they did not receive a benefit. Your part B premium will not increase if you pay the standard $104.00 premium now.

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    • Congress is now given the choice and most chose Social Security because if they do not get reelected SS pays better. Federal workers do not earn any credits to Social Security for the years they worked the federal job. If they work at other jobs that are covered under SS, their SS payments are off set buy their government pension. They get way less from SS if anything. Many federal retirees are not doing much better in the long run. The Federal retirement was started to get more people to chose to work for the government when wages were not any better and sometimes way less than the private sector with the promise of a better retirement.??????

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      • Only the federal officials hired before 1984 were given the choice of SS. Since then there is no choice. They all pay Social Security taxes.

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    • Can we all try to remember that SS was never intended to live off of,,It is a supplement. I tell my kids all the time to put a certain amount of money away each month for retirement,,Now that being said,,How about if the government put back the money they “stole” from the SS fund.

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      • There was no money stolen from the SS Trust. The trust invested in Treasury bonds which are paying interest (and why people are still receiving their full benefit) and which will be redeem between now and 2034. It is no different than if you purchased a US Savings earned interest and someday redeemed your bond for its full value. When you buy a bond from anyone they use the proceeds as they wish. Where would you have had the SS money invested all these years?

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  2. How can they say that there should be no increase when Seniors are the ones that are hit the hardest. The Government says that inflation doesn’t go up that month..that is BS because everything is constantly going up especially food..I only get $1000.00 a month and it is not even enough yet the Government say that I get to much so I don’t evencqualify for food stamps..Right now because of the bridge that collapsed between Arizona and California the price of food is going up again..What is wrong with the Government..They don’t want to see what is going on..The Seniors are always the ones that suffer the most…

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      • Why is it disgraceful? Why are we seniors “entitled” to more than our children? Did we not have a lifetime of opportunity to prepare for old age and retirement? Would you put more tax on the young today so seniors can get more? Where does all this entitlement attitude come from?

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      • “Entitled?” We seniors worked hard for our retirement. We had no IRAs. Social Security funds were supposed to be held in trust. That means…keep your sticky fingers off!

        Prices don’t seem to increase because contents in the package keep shrinking. When was the last time you saw 5 pounds of sugar, or one pound of coffee, or a 1,000 sheet roll of toilet tissue? Instead we get 4 pounds of sugar for the price of 5, 12 ounces of coffee for the price of a full 16-ounce pound, and 360 double-layer sheets for the price of 1,000 sheets. Does that make all things equal? I think not!

        When Social Security was introduced, most companies didn’t offer a retirement benefit. Now, if you work 20 years for the same company…(by the way, who does that?)…you can get a retirement pension. BUT…if you are elected as a Senator or Representative you get a full retirement after only one term, and you don’t wait until you are 65 to start receiving it.

        Our government doesn’t care about the people who elect them, just so they get theirs.

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      • https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsWhile I agree with your assessment of inflation based on the reduced amounts in packaging, your other facts are wrong. IRAs were introduce in 1974 plenty of time to be used by today’s retirees. SS was introduced in 1935, the bulk of pension plans in the US were started during WWII, some before. The oldest in 1875, but the majority of Americans never had a pension. Members of Congress cannot get a full immediate pension after one term in office. Social Security funds are in a trust, but the trust is being depleted because more benefits are being paid than revenue being generated by interest paid to the trust plus income from payroll taxes. Your government gets no money to give anyone until it takes it from citizens.

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  3. This whole thread has turned into a political discussion! Dealing with the day to day facts of living on SS is a different story. For 2016, the govmt website offers a 00% cola raise for 2016. Groceries in DC metro go up MONTHLY. Gas prices are rising again. My husband worked his way thru over 9 yrs of college to get a PhD in nuclear physics. We got married a year later and put the max amount allowed into nonRoth Ira…all that was available. 23 yrs later my husband got caught in a big defense cut and was laid off in his late 50s. For 5 yrs, we lived on what consulting work he could get, me finding a part time job at age 50 after not working since i was 24, and or IRA….which cost us a huge part of it with penalties and taxes. But we kept our home, kept two daughters, with their help, in college on to get their PhDs. And we ended up with ZERO savings when he finally got. 2/3s time job with health care….which btw we were without after COBRA ran out. So, do not make assumptions that people do not save for retirement. Sh*t happens. Then, when he had been sick for a year, at 68, he finally retired. Two weeks later he was dead after a quad bypass failed. HE NEVER GOT ONE SS CHECK. I relate my experience because of the posts on here that seem to assume that no one thinks ahead. Circumstances overtake some, and others in the new lack of middle-class in the US, simply cannot put money away. Many of them are choosing between helping children make it thru a few years of college, or having a savings account. Again…the whole problem lies with the way the raise is figured. At the very least, it should account for the price of food. Hopefully the medigap hole with RXs will be gone in the next five years and then the many seniors who either go without drugs or take lowered amounts will cease. What needs to stop with Medicare is all the tests that doctors and hospitals order to get that extra money…but that is a whole different discussion.

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    • I won’t comment on your story except to say that there are very few people in the middle class who cannot save. Look around when you when you go to the store or the Mall and see how people spend their money. If you can spend money on any nonessentials, you can save something, but let me say that the CPI-W that is used for the Social Security COLA certainly does include things like food, gasoline, rent and such. You can’t simply say this and that is going up in price without looking at the whole picture and the pattern of change over the last twelve months. Right now the change in the CPI from the third quarter 2014 through April is not an increase year over year. That may change between now and the end of September, but it appears any COLA will be quite low, if there is one.

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      • It is unrealistic to think that people are not going to need some discretionary spending in their lives. I suspect that even to have a minimum of that leaves very little to save. We just are not a nation of savers. That still does not mean that we should let SS and Seniors be the group that bears the burden of inflation. I do not have the training to tell me how this is fixable, but when you add in, say the price of housing which fell dramatically in the 2008 recession, sure you are going to take COLA down. There has to be someone smart enough to figure out what formula has to be used to allow Seniors to continue to eat in their waining years. As one person said…you keep crossing off one food item after another, until there is rice left….or in the days before SS , wasn’t the story that they ate cat food? Unless all the tides are right,a vast majority of Seniors are going to live their lives out in this fashion. I know….I helped two of them make it until their death. Not everyone has family that can or will help, and in this financial climate, I don’t see anyone changing their saving habit….nor can you count on having it at age 68 if you did save. One medical mishap, or long unemployment, or what of the high divorce rate which usually ends up splitting SS and IRAs. I am just saying….it is unrealistic to figure COLA the way it is, and more unrealistic to think saving habits are going to change in a way that would not have lower incomes drawing on them throughout life. Ever watch the old film MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW? Things have not changed since the 30s and before SS. There is a big poster in one scene….ARE YOU SAVING FOR RETIREMENT. The answer then, even facing the poor farm, was “no”.

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      • I don’t care about your numbers. I’m looking at not only my own reality, but what I’m hearing from others in the grocery store, at the gas pump, in the doctor’s office, et al. How can you justify your reasoning when, in fact, beef prices have risen exponentially over the past few years. Add to that produce, eggs, milk, etc. due to everything from drought to avian flu. Also, gas prices are rising steadily from record lows and now are, again, over $3/gallon. Also, healthcare premiums have spiked as well as copays and the cost of medicine. I take umbrage with your remark that if you can afford incidentals you can save. The little I can save will not make a dent in my future. The arrogance and snobbery of some toward those of us who live paycheck to paycheck is over the top. I will say it again….reality doesn’t jive with government “numbers” and I don’t trust how they come to their conclusions either.

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      • I think that many people do not realize the government uses averages to set the COLA rate, not the true costs. A lot depends on where you live and what you buy. My rent went up 3%, that equals 42% of my COLA, If a few more things go up just a little, it will eat into more and more of my income. You have to make wise choices on how you spend your money and even then you may run out before your next check. The people who say you should have saved more when you were working, must have made more than $35,000 (sometimes much less) per year with a family of 6. We never starved or qualified for welfare and there was not a lot left over to save. My wife and I live comfortably on $20,000 per year now, in MT, a state that has no sales tax , which helps.

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      • No I can’t say that a person who never earned more than $35,000 and had a family of six could save. Those numbers are barely above the poverty line.

        What I can’t understand (and perhaps this reflects my ignorance) is how a person can work a lifetime of 40-45 years and never earn more than that amount.

        At the same time living that close to poverty for a working life pretty much dictates poverty in retirement.

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      • Oh, I get it now, I read your earlier post, you were a VP one of the top 20%, good for you. But the IRS data shows that 50% of households reported AGI of $34,823 in 2013. That is $16.82 per hour, ok wage for 1995, not so for 2015. The average household AGI $50,221, $24.03 per hour in 2013. That is why I say wages have been kept low for many since 1970 when adjusted for inflation. I liked making $9.10 per hour, $18,928 in 1974, when gas was 48 cents per gallon and my rent was $130 per month. I had way more disposable income then. So, my income did increase over my working life, but inflation caused prices to go up faster.

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      • But you see I started out making $1.49 an hour and as the lowest paid employee out of 15,000. If I had stayed in that job my income would have been increased by only what the union could have negotiated. The only way to success is to keep moving ahead over a lifetime. Nobody is going to go far waiting for wages to go up because they won’t go up more than inflation in any case.

        To get where I was when I retired took 48 years, working 50-60 hours per week (without extra pay), nine years of night school as I had no college when I started to work right out of high school.

        In some ways I was lucky, for one thing there was no serious misfortune along the way, but at the same time I worked hard and took advantage of every opportunity I could including working part-time jobs along most of the time to keep things going and to put four children through college.

        And from the day I started to work, through getting married, spending two years in the Army, having four children, and ten years of college costs I never stopped saving. I cut back a bit at times, but never stopped.

        The downside, unlike most of their friends, my children never got to Disneyworld because we couldn’t afford it. Well, that’s not entirely true, now I’m taking my children and their children.

        There is always opportunity and life choices to make.

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    • People are in debt and it’s not because of frivolous and irresponsible spending, no more than it was 50 years ago. Everything has gotten too damn high and wages haven’t gone up nearly as much as it should have in the last 40 years and especially the last 30. I can set in my house everyday, not spend anything and the rent, utilizes, taxes, insurance, cable service goes up, but my salary doesn’t.

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      • You are so right, but so many people do not see it. They say what are you bitching about you are keeping up with inflation. What happened to beating inflation and improving your standard of living over time? We have become the United States of, by and for the corporations and special interest, period.

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      • Beating inflation and improving your standard of living don’t happen by sitting still in the same job waiting for a raise. For the most part those days are gone. Nobody is going to pay more than necessary to get and keep the workforce they need. When labor is tight raises will grow. When did you buy something or hire someone and pay more than you absolutely had to?

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  4. If people have to spend progressively more and more of their earned income on the necessities of life it seems obvious to me that they would save less and less over time and would require social security when they can work no more. If the COLA is less than the increase in expenses that many retirees experience (rent increases,utility increases, food increases)…certainly they can move and move and move until there is no place left to move to. They can turn out lights one after another until one light on is left. They can swap this food product for that …until….the only left would be rice. Inflation is a BIG PROBLEM for retirees……those who can save are throwing it all into the riskier markets……..and I just hope it all pans out for them……otherwise…..they’ll get to read comments that suggest they don’t know what they’re talking about ..or that they should have worked harder…should have saved more. My opinion on this post is …….there should at the very least be a minimum COLA for workers minimum wage and Social Security benefits for seniors.

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    • During ones working life of say forty years, it must be clear that inflation is a thing that is with us always to some extent. It should come as no surprise that in retirement when a raise or promotion at work is no longer possible, inflation on more or less a fixed income will be a bigger problem. Isn’t’ that why people need extra savings beyond Social Security? You can’t live on Social Security alone or as most of your income, it was never designed for that. You don’t have to invest in risky markets, you have to invest early in life and be prudent and in retirement use dividends, bond interest, etc. to supplement income as needed. Let’s say a person saves only $100 a month between age 20 and 40 and then stops saving. They would have $32,800 assuming only 3% interest. Now if they left the $32,800 invested with a return of only 6% they would have $146,451 at age 65 or if they earned 8% which is more realistic they would have $240,758. That could go a long way in offsetting inflation in retirement years even using only 4% of the balance gives you nearly $10,000 a year in income. I realize not everyone is sophisticated to accomplish all this, but most people are if they only plan ahead. Needless to say, their income in retirement will be relative to their income during working years. Who will pay for a minimum COLA? Why should it be other than dictated by inflation? Taking more in taxes from younger working Americans makes their ability to plan for the future that much more difficult doesn’t it?

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      • You assume you could get 3% interest. The best 5 year CD rate is 2.20% and you have to have at least $2,000 to get that rate.
        So your money earns nothing for the first 20 months. As far as getting anything higher than the 2.20%, I think you dreaming. I agree saving for retirement is needed, but $100 at today’s interest rates is not nearly enough, but it is a good start. But most
        why stop after 20 years save for the whole 40 years and you would have twice as much. Most people are not savers, they are spenders. That is why I am in favor of raising the Social Security tax to 10%, a kind of forced savings and the employer would be paying 10% also. Credit the funds to the individual, plus interest from U.S. Treasury Bonds and pay them only what is in their account when they retire. If what they get in retirement benefits is below the poverty rate, give them food stamps and other aid like they do now. But even working a minimum wage job at $7.25 there would be $222,991 @ 2%. age 20 – 65. There would be much more in the account because the person is not going to stay at $7.25. Of course this would be started with new people entering the workforce, but I think the workers would be better off in the end. Most people now get everything that was paid in back in about 6 years. So, S.S. is a welfare program already.

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      • I fear you are taking a narrow view on this. You can’t get anywhere with CDs or Treasury bonds. In fact you are going backwards. My illustration was based on a conservative return using the stock market which is the only long-term viable strategy. I stopped at 20 years only to make the point that early saving is very important. Of course, saving for the entire 45 years and increasing the amount saved is what should be done. Increasing the 6.25 to 10% won’t get much more in Social Security if it only earns treasury rates, especially since just getting the trust solvent requires increasing the payroll tax by 2.88% according to the actuaries.

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      • Increasing the tax to 10% on both halves equals a 7.6% increase that would get the fund in the black plus 4.72%. So let’s do it and no one gets their check cut in 2033 and there will be funds there for COLA increases, also. As far as the stock market, it may have a somewhat good record over the long term, but I do not trust it. My sister lost $15,000 in 2008 and it has taken her until now to get it back. So she has had zero growth in her retirement account in 7 years. If that happens several times in any 45 year period, depending on how much is lost and at what time, you may never get your losses back. Since most people are not going to save anything and most employers are not providing any pension, Social Security needs to be funded so it is there when people retire.

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      • The stock market is 35% higher today than it was at its peak in 2007 before the crash in 2009. So, anyone who saw their investments decline in 2009 has made it all back plus at least 35% more unless they foolishly sold at the bottom of the market in 2009.

        Have you considered the impact on the economy of increasing taxes on individuals and companies as you suggest? Such a massive tax increase comes with an economic cost.

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      • Your numbers on what someone might of gained since 2009 are not correct, but an average of the market. It depends what stocks you own as to what gain you have made. I told you real life numbers my sisters account has only earned back what it lost. As for the Social Security tax, it was raised 2% from 1970-1990, it has not been raised since. Could this be one reason the trust fund is underfunded? The last raise did not seem to hurt the economy, in the 1990s and beyond. If we are going to provide a benefit for people in retirement you must fund it. Somehow.

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      • My numbers are 100% accurate. If a person cannot afford to lose money they should not be invested in individual stocks. A prudent amateur like most of us should be mutual funds, especially index funds which should become more conservative as retirement approaches. The trusts are in trouble for several reasons the largest is the ratio of working people to retirees. The benefits are too generous for the revenue or taxes are too low even for current benefits. Every tax increase has some impact on the economy because it lowers discretionary income and/or lowers a company’s profit.

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      • I did not say she was invested in individual stocks. She is invested in stock and bond funds, which both took a hit in 2008. It depends how good your fund managers are and what fees, are charged also. She is in a 401K at her job. Also, not funding Social Security will have it’s consequences. More people living in poverty and not having the discretionary income they need.
        So more people will move onto food stamp and other programs and the government will foot the bill. I would rather see the taxes raised so those getting a S.S. paid their way.

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      • Sure, it looks good on paper, save for your retirement. Of course, with the cost of everything going up, and wages for the 20 year old are just high enough to pay for gas to get them to work, how in the —– are they suppose to save plus have money for food and enjoy their youth.
        I was only able to put back $2000 total in my early years, and that was in an IRA, that now gets .75% int. I haven’t seen the rates you’re talking about in several years. Get real, the Social “In”security was and is to offset retirements, but when the big corps go bankrupt, or some how steal the money, how in the devil is anyone suppose to enjoy retirement?

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      • The interest rate I am talking about is the average return in the stock market. You certainly cannot expect to earn much putting retirement savings in a savings bank or money market fund.

        The vast majority of young people most certainly can sock away $50 a month with a little effort. If they did, they would have over $150,000 by retirement.

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    • You finally showed the differences in choices that people make. We took a road trip every year…our girls went to Disney World, Yellowstone, Niagara falls, Santa Fe, New Orleans, Washington DC. Those trips are their cherished memories now. Our family was never closer as we covered the miles with Dvorak or the For Seasons playing. We taught our girls to appreciate classical music. We taught them dome German and Rusdian, and played road games. The first road trip was when the oldest was 6 weeks old. We have NEVER REGRETED budgeting for those trips, and I realize we were lucky to be able to rake them. The thing your post proves, is that different people value different things in life, and having to fight inflation as a Senior, should not enter into that mix. I don’t think anyone here is asking for more than they are due. They are just asking for a realistic cola that akes into consideration the items they need to exist. I would just say…..do not force your choices on others. If having a nest egg was important, and you were lucky enough to keep it. Good for you. To others, that family time, learning time…may be more important than taking, what to me, is a belated Disney trip. We went for a 65th birthday party there. It could never take the place of two little girls with MM ears on. JMHO. And btw, I spent 4 years in the United States Air Force. If you saved money on what we were paid in the 60s, you are indeed in a minority.

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      • I think you are mixing spending money with quality family time. One does not need to spend money to enjoy and make memories with family. Spending today and worrying about tomorrow seems rather short-sighted to me. I don’t think there is any time in life you don’t have to consider the future short and long term and if a person does they do so at their peril and should not have expectations that others will bail them out.

        You remark that all people are seeking is what they are entitled to. I think those words entitled to get us in trouble. Nobody is entitled to a COLA any more than required by law. None of us receiving a COLA now paid for that COLA. Rather, our children are paying and the SS Trust is going broke in part paying for COLAs.

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  5. In a nut shell, The cost of living has increased substanially over the last 40 years, Homes that once cost an average of $60K are now more than $300K, The price of a decent vehicle being around $3,500.00, is now above $20K yet the average income hasn’t even come close to staying in range of these increases over the years. Let alone those who have been tied to a governmental fixed income. Our Politicians are more concerned with providing hand-outs to those who earn millions to keep them in their multi million dollar estates, Leer jets, High end sports cars, and a vacation every other week to the most expensive points on the planet. While those who have busted their ass are handed B.S. stats to explain why they are still barley able to exist with the income the are told is a gift. Please spare me the details. In a recent report on the drought conditions in CA, the wealthy laugh at the $500. imposed fine for abuse of the water resources. Yet those who work laborious jobs can’t afford to waste a single drop for the fine hits them right where they live. Fines need to be imposed on a percentage base, Then watch the wealthy sit up, and smarten up when they are hit with fines that match their income base. As for the outrageously pitiful COLA’s that have been availed over the last couple decades, Lets put all the governmental figures on the same sum to live on, then lets see how they enjoy life?

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    • So, why after a lifetime of work are you living on Social Security? Didn’t you realize that at some point in your life, your income in retirement would be lower and still subject to inflation? Do you see nothing wrong in turning Social Security into a welfare program? Why do you feel we are entitled to take more from the successful in taxes to support higher benefits for those of us on Social Security?

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      • You just do not get it, because of low wages.Just over a third (34 percent) of retirees age 65 and older got 90 percent or more of their retirement income from Social Security in 2008. And the majority of retirees age 65 and older (64 percent) get at least half of their retirement income in the form of a Social Security payment. Since the 1970s companies have offered pensions to less people and have kept wages low. Record high profits, record low wages for the bottom 50% so how can you expect that they would have any money to save. According to the Federal Reserve, the median balance of retirement accounts held by Americans who are saving for retirement totals less than $60,000. The current law says we get x dollars per month based on our work history and a COLA if prices increase, so how is it a welfare program, if you and your employer paid in all your working life. The Social Security program is doing exactly what it was designed to do, keep the elderly out of poverty.

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      • Oh I get it. I was a VP of Benefits and Compensation for many years. I know the facts. Nobody has kept wages low since the 1970s. It would be a welfare program if they raise the taxes on some as proposed and freeze their benefits so others can get a higher benefits. Nobody has paid for all their benefits. They next generation pays and the government and taxpayers paid via interest on the trust bonds. There simply is not enough money going into the trust now to pay all the promised benefits. As far as the low retirement savings go whose fault is that? Not everyone is poor. They choose to spend their money on stuff before they save. Just look at what average people have and how they spend their money.

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      • So, you believe that someone who worked hard at low pay because $10 per hour is all the work that they could find, and had nothing left in his check to save, should get a low check, benefits cut, no cola. And the guy who was lucky to find a job after going to college and made $50 per hour and was able to save thousands, should get a check he does not need. Choices have to be made, raise the taxes to ensure the people who worked hard all their life but had little or no savings have a decent life in retirement. I say we must adjust the system and if it means higher taxes on the corporations and an increase on individuals to 10% from the current 6.2%, and means testing for the top 30% so be it.

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      • So the person working hard today should pay 10% of their pay so others who paid far less can get higher benefits. I don’t believe a person can spend an entire life with no ability to find a job paying more than $10 and I believe there is not luck, but hard work involved for the person earning $50. People have 40 years or more to plan for retirement. What results should not be a surprise.

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      • The person working today will get S.S. when they reach retirement age. I said it before, In 1974 I made $9.10 per hour right out of high school, loading trucks, I was lucky, I had a friend that got me the job. Many of my classmates were working minimum wage jobs at $2 per hour. $9.10 per hour in 1974 was great compared to the cost of living. To equal what $9.10 per hour bought in 1974 today’s wage would need to be over $36.40 per hour. Minimum wage would need to be $9.16. It has not been raised since 2009, but I am sure the guy making $50 per hour has seen cola increases in his pay. So, wages have been kept low by corporations and government by not indexing minimum wage to inflation. At least if more people make more in their paycheck maybe they will have some extra to save. Also, a 10% tax on S.S. wages is more in line with what the person will receive in benefits. And it would ensure the people that don’t or won’t or can’t save extra have something after they quit working. There are plenty of government programs that I do not qualify for, but I have paid taxes for over 40 years, at least S.S. gives something back to the hard working taxpayer, no matter what the job they worked.

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      • I hope you will take time to read what I wrote on this subject. Your ideas of saving obviously come from someone with a good income or a big inheritance because they are totally unreal. JMHO

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  6. Its eally very simple…..SS raises do not keep up with the raise in food. All of us need to buy groceries. I don’t have a car….so the gas issue is a nonissue. I own my condo, and most, or many of us, are set in our abodes by now, so real estate doesn’t mean much either. I also could care less about the cost of cars, furniture, clothes, etc. The one thing that all SS recipients need is food, and where I live and have lived since my husband died, food has gone up on some items 30-50% in one year. Very simple….gotta eat.

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    • Food Inflation in the United States decreased to 2.30 percent in March of 2015 from 3 percent in February of 2015. Food Inflation in the United States averaged 3.50 percent from 1914 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 36.70 percent in May of 1917 and a record low of -34.30 percent in June of 1921. Food Inflation in the United States is reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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      • Don’t know where you shop but I’ve seen meat, chicken etc. double over the past three years. You can spin the numbers and so called statistics all you want…I don’t trust half the statistics the government puts out, especially under this Administration. Time and again they’ve convoluted the stats to fit their narrative. Sorry, just don’t agree with you I KNOW from grocery shopping the REAL food inflation numbers.

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  7. One has to take into consideration how everything has risen. Those of us who are SS age made considerable less $’s then therefore giving us a lower base to calculate SS. If one is lucky enough to have lived long enough look at the prices of vehicles – what we paid for houses, as well as everything else. So saying, what we received from our Retirement is lower but so was everything else. In this day and age, everything is much higher which does not offset the small pensions we had, then there was the market crash. My GE stock went from $50 a share to the $20’s which also lowered the income, which so far I have been lucky enough not to have had to cash the stocks saved in. With Car Homeowner’s, HOA’s, food, co-pays for doctors, and services that we as senior have to depend on since we are unable to perform these duties at our age, we are robbing Peter to pay Paul. If we use Credit cards, most cards have a tremendously high interest rate these days. Yes, there is a 0 for a year, then hit with at least in the high teens. Some of us are forced to live on the credit cards since our retirement isn’t enough, SS isn’t enough, and investments have not increased, We pay at least $104 a month from the SS check which leaves us with a small amount from SS to live on, plus co-pays keep increasing. If one sells their house, rentals are out of the questions and forget reverse mortgages, they are a nightmare. So, in my opinion everyone should get a fair increase in order to live. I can’t remember the last time I have had a vacation with nothing extra left over to do so, so we depend on our cable TV (that keeps going up in price) So, everyone in Congress thinks we aren’t needing a fair increase. Let them try to live on what we are trying to survive on . Also have you noticed that every 3rd quarter the price of gasoline drops – how convenient since this is one of the factors our $’s for COLA are based on. ((I have watched it every year and sure enough that is when the price goes down) I am sure there are other factors attributing to the lower prices (kids going back to school etc) however, it is also a factor used when calculating our COLA’s. Our incomes from SS, retirement, and stocks do not make it feasible for us to live comfortably in our elder age especially with having to secure services that when we were younger we could perform, however, now need someone to assist. Put that into everyone’s budget and one can see why we are all asking for a fair increase yearly to keep up with the costs of living. A long dissertation, but true of most seniors that retired when I did after 47 years in the workforce and doing what I was supposed to do, save, buy stocks, work enough years to obtain a pension but it just doesn’t hack it in this day and age. So we are no better off than the low income paid employee who is asking for a raise above minimum. Most of us seniors make less than that but require to pay for additional services. What else can I say except this is the truth and no one ever listens to us that we are as much in need as those making minimum wage. We are the people who worked in the Space program to bring higher technology to this country, computers hi-technology in medicine yet we are the forgotten ones for our accomplishments and Congress laughs when we ask for a little more than 1.7 COLA. Where would they be if it wasn’t for our generation. Thanks for letting me vent!

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  8. The real fix for S.S. is tax all wages, just like they do for the Medicare tax. Also, means test it, I do not care if a millionaire banker on Wall Street or a CEO paid in his whole life, if he has millions he does not need a S.S check. But under current law he can get it and because he paid the max, he gets the biggest check. In 2014 it is $2,642 per month. And if he has a wife who did not work outside the home, she gets $1,321 per month for a total family benefit of $47,556. The average S.S. check is $1250 per month. That is just $15,000 per year. Under the current system the rich get richer and the poor stay poor.

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  9. Inflation happens everyday, every year with everything, weather its food, gas, inflation in general….What are you thinking? That’s the way its always been, that’s 1 of the reasons are minimum wage is fought for and goes up..The little bit it does, but when you say why should we have cola, just like you need would want a raise or a low interest rate on anything you finance. TO HAVE MORE MONEY, TO LIVE A LITTLE BETTER. WE CANNOT WORK, SPEAK FOR YORUSELF!

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    • The facts are very simple. Inflation is lower today than it was a year ago. Gasoline is way cheaper and as a result overall inflation is nearly non-existent on a national level which is what the COLA is based on. Of course, costs rise for individuals in different ways, but you can’t apply the Social Security COLA on an individual basis.

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      • Sandy, The system is rigged, I got my 1.7% raise in Jan. Went to Sam’s Club and the price of Milk, Coffee, Eggs, Bacon and Bread all had price increases. The Congress of the U.S. has not had a pay raise in 7 years, (and they like to let us know, they have not gotten a cola) but in Dec 2014 they voted in a $1,000 per month car lease benefit for themselves. Poor Congress, I feel so sorry for them NOT! We have a bunch of hypocrites running the corporations and government.

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      • Explain please, what you mean by the system is rigged. What opportunities have you been denied, what was rigged that prevented you from a better retirement?

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      • The original intent was to help workers that did not have enough income to save for retirement, or a pension plan from their work. Not provide a benefit to the rich CEOs. I am fine if the poor worker at Walmart making $20,000 per year gets a bigger S.S. check and the guy who was lucky enough to make millions gets zero.

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      • You’re drinking financial kook aid. So gas went down below $3/gal when, in fact, it was less than $2 when Obama took office. However, gasoline is now increasing again due to the reduction in fracking and increase in price of oil. The cost of durable goods, autos, homes, food, clothing EVERYTHING except gas which was over inflated anyway.

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      • Just look at the facts. The key measure for 2016 is the change in inflation from the third quarter of 2014 to the third quarter 2015. Some things go up and others down.

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    • This is a bunch of BS because COLA was denied for two years, which set those of social security back four times due to the high food and gas prices. Then the measley <2% given over the past two years hasn't made a dent in soc sec income while rents and utilites continue upward!! I'm so sick of this Administration finding reasons to keep COLA at little or nothing while lining their fat paychecks with large annual raises!!! Enough is enough!!!

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      • It has nothing to do with the Administration. There is a formula built into the law. It doesn’t matter who is in the White House.

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      • In 1974, right out of high school, no skills, I made $9.10 per hour loading trucks for Gallo Wine, in Commerce, CA.
        Today I cannot find work that pays over $9 per hour, 40 years later. We are all working for slave wages, compared to the top 20%.
        Some slaves are just getting paid a little bit more than other slaves. In the 70s Ceos made 40 times what the average worker made, today it is 350-400 times. I do not hate the rich, but they sure must hate us, when you look at what the pay us.
        Record high profits record low wages for the bottom 50%. We have free trade, open borders and the middle class awash in debt, because wages have not kept up with inflation.

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      • I don’t know how to reply. You can’t make progress simply by hoping wages are going to increase. If they do, it will only be by the rate of inflation. To make progress one must increase his value in the workplace. That means new jobs with greater responsibility among other things.

        Also, it is not true that overall CEOs make 300+ times the average worker. That is true only for some Fortune 500 companies which in total employ only 15% of all workers. There are over 250,000 CEOs in the U.S. Populist rhetoric is very misleading.

        How do you believe the rich have affected your life and taken opportunities from you during your life?

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    • I’m not sure what you are saying at all. What you did say is not true. However, there are proposals to switch to a chained CPI, but that only means future increases could be lower because they would more accurately reflect spending. But the real question is why should there be a COLA if inflation does not justify it? Given the fiscal status of Social Security, what is the answer to keep it going?

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      • The fiscal status of social security is the way it is not because of we the people, but because 3 Democratic and 1 Republican President dipped their greedy and grubby hands into the pot for other uses. If they’d have stayed out of the ss fund it wouldn’t be in the shape it’s in today!! And don’t tell me there’s no inflation…only recently gas prices have come down but food continues an uphill climb as well as rent and the cost of durable goods. Thanks to Clinton he removed food and gas from the inflation calculation.

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      • Because there IS inflation…Clinton stopped including the cost of energy and food during his Admin and energy and food are the two commodities people MUST have to live…I haven’t seen the cost of durable goods, autos, homes etc. come down either. So in my opinion the numbers are convoluted to benefit everything but the true cost of living for middle to low income earners.

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      • How does the federal government understate the inflation rate? Let us count the ways:

        1. It excludes food and fuel costs from its rate of “core inflation.” Each month, the Federal Reserve calms national inflation fears by pointing to the low rate of core inflation, currently at an annual pace of just 2.1%. It reaffirms that the economy is meeting the goal set for it by the Fed of keeping core inflation around or below two percent.

        Claiming that food and fuel are too unstable to be included in the inflation rate, it excludes precisely those areas in which inflation is felt most deeply. In the past year, the cost of commodities from corn to soybeans has doubled and the price of gasoline at the pump is one third higher than it was one year ago. The average American household budget devotes one-third of its cash to food and energy costs. Leaving these elements out of the inflation rate has no justification.

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      • Here is what the CPI includes.

        The CPI represents all goods and services purchased for consumption by the reference population (U or W) BLS has classified all expenditure items into more than 200 categories, arranged into eight major groups. Major groups and examples of categories in each are as follows:

        FOOD AND BEVERAGES (breakfast cereal, milk, coffee, chicken, wine, full service meals, snacks)
        HOUSING (rent of primary residence, owners’ equivalent rent, fuel oil, bedroom furniture)
        APPAREL (men’s shirts and sweaters, women’s dresses, jewelry)
        TRANSPORTATION (new vehicles, airline fares, gasoline, motor vehicle insurance)
        MEDICAL CARE (prescription drugs and medical supplies, physicians’ services, eyeglasses and eye care, hospital services)
        RECREATION (televisions, toys, pets and pet products, sports equipment, admissions);
        EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION (college tuition, postage, telephone services, computer software and accessories);
        OTHER GOODS AND SERVICES (tobacco and smoking products, haircuts and other personal services, funeral expenses).

        Also included within these major groups are various government-charged user fees, such as water and sewerage charges, auto registration fees, and vehicle tolls. In addition, the CPI includes taxes (such as sales and excise taxes) that are directly associated with the prices of specific goods and services. However, the CPI excludes taxes (such as income and Social Security taxes) not directly associated with the purchase of consumer goods and services.

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    • Government data shows that wages for the bottom 50% have been flat over the last 40 years. By blocking minimum wage growth by lobbying Congress, the rich corporations have kept all wages low. If minimum wage was indexed to inflation it would be $10.25 today. Free trade, open borders, brought to you by the rich corporations lobbying Congress has kept wages low.
      Why does everyone get upset when we spend 44 billion in 2006 on welfare for the poor. But say nothing about corporate welfare for 2006, 88 billion.

      I know everyone is different. Since 1995 my income has grown 60%. My lot rent up 86%, food up 150%,
      gasoline up 123%, but it was up 200% last year. New car prices up 160%., has priced me out of the market.
      The corporations are winning their balance sheets show it. That is how the rich have affected my life. 2 steps forward 3 steps back.

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      • For me It does not matter that gasoline is down, I use the city bus and spent $100 on fuel in 2014, for a few out of town trips.
        I have spent nothing on gasoline, so far in 2015, so it is not helping me. Food is my biggest budget item, I am now spending more feeding 2 people, than I spent feeding 6 people in 1999. Business Insider had a chart the other day that showed food prices are up 671% over the last 60 years. That is 11% per year, way more than any COLA. Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.

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      • Think about what you are saying; inflation is rampant, but wages are not keeping pace. So who is buying the stuff that allows companies to make their profits and increase prices? If there was no ability to buy, prices could not be raised. Inflation has increased 55% since 1995, so based on your numbers have beat inflation.

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      • rdquinn, you forget about plastic. American household debt has skyrocketed in the last 40 years. That is the only way most have been able to maintain the illusion of a middle class standard of living. The only question they ask is what is the monthly payment. More people are dying in debt, with zero savings than ever before. Government inflation numbers are an average of all cost of goods and services over time. . It depends on what you spend your money on, that determines if you are beating the increase. I spend most my money on food, housing, and transportation, which have all gone up much faster than 55%. Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.

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