Be sure to buy the premium catfood. It's healthier.

Be sure to buy the premium catfood. It's healthier.

by digby

This piece by Michael Hiltzik at the LA Times made my stomach turn this morning. It's a horrifying story of what happens if you are unlucky enough to live a full lifespan:

As if you haven't been scared enough by the projections that most Americans haven't saved enough to maintain their lifestyles as they enter retirement, here's something even more terrifying:

Nearly half of all Americans will outlive their assets, dying with practically no money at all.

Even more worrisome, that's true even among households that met the traditional standards for secure retirement income. Economic factors and changes in employer pensions and in economic reality have made it much harder to stretch income and assets so they last, especially as people live longer.

"The oldest old are suffering a great deal now," says Debra Whitman, an AARP expert on the financial issues facing retirees.
The real bad news is that nearly the entire political establishment wants to cut their meager incomes even more:
For the most part, the consequences of these economic trends have been overlooked in the debate over the future of Social Security.

For example, the most commonly proposed "fix" for the program, embraced by President Obama and conservative Republicans alike, is to change its inflation index to one that produces lower cost of living increases. Because the difference resulting from the "chained consumer price index" builds over time, the effect of the change would be greatest on the oldest retirees.

Those retirees are already heavily dependent on the program: AARP's analysis of census data shows that about one-third of retirees ages 65 to 69 rely on Social Security for more than half their annual income, but the figure rises to more than 60% of those ages 80 and older.
By all means let's cut their incomes even more. Because they obviously aren't being "smart consumers" and substituting cat food for tuna --- the logic behind the Chained-CPI.

It's still out there folks. And like the Village zombie it is, it will not die easily. You can help with that:

Social Security Works

The Chained CPI—the Social Security benefit cut proposal that would mean thousands of dollars less for everyone—is still alive in the House. This week, House Republicans announced that they were including it in their “menu” of demands in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.
But Representatives Alan Grayson (D, FL-9) and Mark Takano (D, CA-41) are recruiting members of Congress to a letter stating: “We will vote against any and every cut to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits -- including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need.”
Already, 44 members of Congress have signed the Grayson-Takano letter and 6 more have released public statements. Click here to see if your representative has pledged no cuts!
House Republican demands to tie Social Security cost of living increases to the debt ceiling are outrageous. Since Social Security is paid for by the payroll tax, it has NEVER contributed a penny to our nation’s debt.
Click here to ask your Representative in Congress to make the strongest possible statement against Social Security cuts by signing the Grayson-Takano Letter today.
We’re working with the Other 98% to track members who have already signed the letter, and have noted whether or not they’ve supported earlier measures along similar lines. The members need to hear from their constituents: We will not stand for any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, and we will not stand with any member of Congress who votes for them.
Here are some important tips to keep in mind when calling your representative about the Grayson-Takano Letter:
  1. Determine if your member of Congress has signed a previous letter opposing cuts, such as the 2013 Schakowsky-Ellison letter to keep Social Security out of budget talks, or has progressive credentials like membership in the Congressional Progressive Caucus. You should bring that up when you ask them to sign the Grayson-Takano Letter. Ask them to stand up for Social Security now as they have in the past, and challenge them if they claim to have changed their views.
  2. Be polite but firm; feel free to follow our script below
  3. If a member of Congress has signed—or agrees to sign—the Grayson-Takano letter, but is not yet on the Cicilline Resolution, please ask them to sign it as well. The Cicilline Resolution opposes the use of Chained CPI, and we would like to build up the number of members on both.
  4. If you don’t get a chance to speak to a person on the phone, please leave a detailed message or follow up by e-mail. They will be tracking all messages from their constituents.
Here is a sample call script:
Hi, my name is [NAME] and I'm calling from [TOWN, STATE].
As a constituent, I want [MEMBER NAME] to publicly oppose any deficit reduction or debt ceiling deal that cuts Social Security benefits. That is why I am asking [MEMBER NAME] to sign onto the Grayson-Takano letter to vote against any deal that cuts benefits.
Can you please tell Rep. [MEMBER NAME] that I want [HIM/HER] to publicly stand against any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits?
Thank you. And can you please tell your press secretary that I called and asked Rep. [MEMBER NAME] to make a public statement against cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits?
Close the call: Thank you for your time!
Please, find your member in our table, and call them today. The Grayson-Takano letter is one of the strongest statements against cuts to SocialSecurity.

Thanks for all you do,
Michael Phelan
Social Security Works