May 28, 2010
We have listened to what you've had to say about the zero Social Security Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) and now we're acting on those comments and doing something about this injustice. We decided to create a way for older Americans everywhere to participate in a virtual congressional hearing. A way for your Senators and Representatives to hear how you feel about the zero COLA you got this year and how you are coping with it. Everyone doesn't have the time or the money to fly to Washington and participate in formal hearings. It seems lately that privilege has been reserved for the leaders of failed car companies and failed financial institutions.
We thought it was time that Congress and the Administration heard from the common people, the older men and women who are trying to make ends meet in this era of no jobs and zero COLA. Older Americans who paid into Social Security their entire working lives and now have to rely on this monthly check, are suddenly faced with not only a zero increase in the COLA on their Social Security check, but increased expenses and fewer options because of this deep recession.
For example, many of their children and grand children are moving back into their houses with them because they've lost their jobs and can't find new ones. We wanted the voices of older Americans to be heard so we made it possible for them to participate in this virtual hearing by asking them to come to our website and answer one simple question, "How the lack of COLA has affected me". Boy did you respond! We have already gotten almost two hundred responses from all over America and we pledge to make your voices heard.
Many of you told us that you know that the calculation used to figure the COLA had to be wrong. You told us, "We really need an accurate appropriate cost of living increase now" and, "We need a new, realistic formula based on real Seniors" and finally, "The method of determining the colas should be based on a more realistic formula."
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It seems pretty clear that the "Seniors in the "Real World" know that something is wrong with the COLA calculation. Well, it should be of no surprise to anyone that there is something wrong with the formula used to calculate the COLA. The consumer-price-index used to calculate the COLA is based on young, urban workers. It doesn't reflect older Americans real costs or circumstances and RetireSafe has vowed to correct this error, an error that has been perpetuated for decades. We've listened, and now it's time to act.
We have worked very closely with Congressman John "Jimmy" Duncan from Tennessee to get a bill introduced to correct this error that affects so many lives. Now that bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Cosponsored by Representatives Duncan, Lipinski, Fudge, Arcuri, and Harper, the bill is HR 5305, the CPI for Seniors Act of 2010. The bill mandates the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to calculate a CPI that is based on the true costs and circumstances of older Americans.
It is evident that this correction is far overdue and it seems a travesty to have gone decades without correcting it. As I've said before, when the government told all Americans that they were going to take money out of every paycheck for Social Security, they promised two things; when you retired they would send you a check and they would make sure that the buying power of that check would not be reduced over time. We feel that the second promise has not been kept. Year after year the government has used a completely inaccurate and unfair CPI to calculate the COLA for Social Security. This bill will finally correct that inaccuracy.
We've listened, and now we've acted. We will work hard now to get this bill passed but we need your help. We are going to hold a kick off press event to thank those Representatives who joined Congressman Duncan as original co-sponsors and to thank others that will surely join with him on this important legislation. We are hoping to go out into the states and districts to talk about this bill and encourage your Senators and Representatives to work to get this bill passed. This takes time and money so we are counting on you to help us with your donations or your time as we take the message to the home states and districts of those that need to hear your voice. We invite you all to join with us as we fight for an accurate CPI and a fair Social Security COLA.