FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RetireSafe President Delivers Seniors' Testimony to Capitol Hill Supporting H.R. 5305, the CPI for Seniors Act of 2010
Washington, DC (June 21, 2010) - RetireSafe President Thair Phillips, representing 400,000 senior-citizen supporters across America, last week delivered hundreds of online messages from older Americans supporting the need for H.R. 5305, the CPI for Seniors Act. Handing the messages to Congressman John "Jimmy" Duncan, Jr. (TN-2), the author of H.R. 5305, Phillips said, "These messages represent the first wave of responses to RetireSafe's ‘virtual hearing' calling for action to fix the ongoing consumer price index/zero COLA inequity that harms seniors nationwide." He added, "Millions of older Americans are suffering just like the ones sharing their personal stories of hardship in these messages." "If passed, H.R. 5305 would correct the flawed formula that created their plight," Phillips continued. He also announced a major House Press Briefing scheduled for June 30th, to present a new academic study on the issue.
The legislation, introduced in May by Congressman Duncan and his House colleagues, Daniel Lipinski (IL-3), Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Michael Arcuri (NY-24), and Gregg Harper (MS-3), would establish a new Consumer Price Index for Seniors (CPI-S) so that annual Social Security Cost-of-Living-Adjustments (COLAs) can be fairly determined. H.R. 5305 would direct the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to finally determine a new CPI-S formula for seniors, one based exclusively on the costs actually incurred by older Americans. RetireSafe, an advocacy organization for older Americans, strongly supports this legislation to correct the faulty formula now used by the BLS, one that has resulted in a "zero" COLA for 2010.
Phillips noted, "The BLS now calculates annual Social Security COLAs using the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Phillips emphasized, "Clearly this is wrong, as older Americans use different products and have different expenses, including much higher health care costs." Phillips also noted that "while the experimental index for the elderly (CPI-E) provides more accurate reflections of senior inflationary pressures, it too has proven flaws." "While there may be other approaches to address this problem, we believe the critical first step should be a truly accurate CPI-S that will finally reflect the actual costs borne by older Americans," he stated.