I’d also add that the entire SS debate exposes part of the “government gamemanship” that’s afoot here.
- The Fed ostensibly bailed us out of the “meltdown” by money mischief; holding interests rates down to zero for an extended period of time, allowing the major corporations to borrow money for free. This certainly kept the large corporations solvent, but it was punitive to the SS receipients and small corporations, the former of which have seen no substantial increase in benefit due to the COLA being at or about zero, and the latter, who are not able to borrow at zero like their larger competitors did. (Yes, I know that the COLA is not pegged to interest rates, but when you have a net effect of no growth in an economy, prices aren’t going to rise.)
- This, of course, begs a large question, that being of the government’s, well, honesty in how they calculate inflation and thereby the COLA. Remember, the government’s SS ledger looks a lot better if they don’t give anyone any benefit increases. So:
- The increases since the meltdown (starting in 2009, declared in Jan 2010) are as follows: 0%, 0%, 3.6%, 1.7%, 0%. .3%, 2%. The average check in 2009 was $1183. (Scared yet, millenials?) So, that check grew, over the next 7 years, to…….$1,312, for an aggregate total increase of 12%, and and average annual increase of 1.67%. Anybody out there think it only costs 12% more to live today than it did in 2009?
- But wait, it gets worse. Those increases get netted against increases in Medicare costs. Medicare premiums went from 96 bucks in 2009 to 138 today. So, that net increase of ….. $129 over seven years in SS check got chewed up by the $42 increase in medicare premiums (and that’s not even mentioning Part D and Part A deductible increases).
What a mess.