It is not easy to pose as a liberal President in a captitalist nation. One must appeal to the masses, while faithfully serving the financial elites. So to destroy the labor movement in a capitalist country, someone posing as a liberal President must propose trojan horse legislation like NAFTA that will allow businesses to move overseas if American labor gets out of line. To destroy any hope for a public option for healthcare, someone posing as a liberal President in a capitalist nation must mimic such universal coverage, but put it under the cold metal thumb of the insurance industry.

The Obama administration is proposing a new way to measure price levels of consumer goods and services that some think is a disguised effort to cut social security. The Chained Consumer Price Index was created by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as a way of more accurately measuring the effects of inflation, but some feel moving from current methods to a “Chained CPI will only balance the budget by cutting services to America’s most vulnerable citizens. What follows is a series of illuminating quotes on the “Chained CPI.”

“Proponents of the chained CPI include the Washington Post Editorial Board the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, and the Heritage Foundation. It is also included in the recommendations of various bipartisan commissions designed to reduce the deficit such as Simpson-Bowles, Domenici-Rivlin and the Gang of Six.” -Wikipedia

“Opponents of the measure contend that changing inflation metrics to the Chained CPI would inappropriately cut the growth in benefits under programs like Social Security and Supplemental Security Income. Opponents include the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), the American Federation of Government Employees, the AFL-CIO and Social Security Works. They claim that the current CPI used for the elderly understates the inflation seniors experience, primarily because the elderly purchase more medical care than younger people, and medical care inflation has exceeded inflation in the rest of the economy.” -Wikipedia

Robert Reich, former United States Secretary of Labor, said there is an easy fix to the concern that the Social Security trust fund could run out of money: Just lift the ceiling on income subject to Social Security taxes. This cap is now $113,700. Lifting it would allegedly make the Social Security system solvent for the foreseeable future. -Wikipedia

“How much could payments change? Estimates show that under the chained CPI, your cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) would be about .3 percentage point below the plain old CPI. That works out to $3 less on every $1,000, which doesn’t sound like much — except that it keeps compounding over time.” -AARP

“With the chained CPI, you would be getting $1,267.50 — or $3.75 less a month and $45 less a year. Again, that might not seem like a big reduction, but if the COLA is the same next year, the difference increases to $7.61 a month and $91.32 for the year.” -AARP

“You start to get the picture. The gap accelerates and begins looking like real money. If you’re 62 and take early retirement this year, by age 92 — when health care costs can skyrocket and more than 1 in 6 older Americans lives in poverty — you’ll be losing a full month of income every year.” -AARP

In fact, Obama may be unintentionally strengthening the Republican’s hand in this debate by validating their theory of deficit reduction. –George Zornick, The Nation

Instead of battling the GOP on the idea that cutting the safety net is a bad way to reduce deficits—particularly Social Security, which doesn’t even contribute to it—Obama has endorsed the GOP approach by agreeing to Chained CPI. And don’t think they won’t point that out—and use it to advance the ball on cutting entitlements. –George Zornick, The Nation

The AARP reveals that 70 percent of voters age 50-plus oppose the use of the chained CPI to cut benefits, and two-thirds of them – including 60 percent of Republicans — say they would be “considerably less likely” to support a congressional candidate if he or she backed a new way of calculating consumer prices. And 84 percent of voters over 50 say Social Security has no place in budget-deficit discussions, since it is self-financed. –George Zornick, The Nation