Get PJ Media on your Apple

Chained CPI: The Budget Provision Dems Love to Hate

But GOPs aren't buying Obama's conversion on entitlement reform.

Bill Straub


April 16, 2013 - 12:12 am
<- Prev  Page 2 of 2   View as Single Page

Most Democrats do not appear eager to support the administration’s CPI plan. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, of California, admitted as much during a Thursday press conference when she said her caucus was still weighing the plan’s potential impact.

“Whatever we are doing, it is about our extending the life and the strength of Social Security,” said Pelosi, who otherwise lauded the president’s plan. “It’s not about balancing the budget. And so that’s some of the concerns that some of the members have — why is this in this bill?”

Boehner, who characterized the proposed budget as “not serious,” was dismissive about the president’s entitlement initiative.

“Now, I am encouraged that the president acknowledged that our safety net programs are unsustainable but only offered some modest reforms,” Boehner said. “They are modest. It’s nothing close to what we need in order to preserve these programs and to put ourselves on a path to balance the budget. And still it’s a step back from what he’d agreed to over a year and a half ago. So, there’s no reason we can’t make incremental progress where we can agree.’’

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, was equally unimpressed with the offer.

“I don’t see it as entitlement reform, as much as clarifying a statistic,” Ryan told reporters.

Even that clarifying statistic might not proceed very far. Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, said the president is offering chained CPI on a conditional basis – Republicans will have to give on an issue they favor to shepherd it into law,  probably some sort of tax hike.

“Obviously, when you’re having a bipartisan budget agreement it requires give and take on both sides,” Sperling said. “You can’t have an agreement where one side says, if you make a compromise, they say, well, we’ll just take that. That doesn’t work.  And it can’t work — it couldn’t work the other way. If they said, well, as part of your agreement, we’re willing to support your infrastructure plan but only if you did all the entitlement savings, we couldn’t say, oh, well, thank you, we’ll just take that. You’d understand that was put on the table as part of a compromise.”

In the recent past, Sperling said, Boehner, House Republican Leader Eric Cantor, of Virginia, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, have indicated “that one of the things that they felt was needed for giving revenues was the CPI.”

The offer, Sperling said, “is not an à-la-carte menu and you can’t decide to only pick out the concessions the president has made and not include the concessions that are from the Republican side that need to be part of a bipartisan deal that could pass both houses.’’

Cantor argued that the CPI question should be evaluated on its own merits and not offered as part of a compromise.

“If the president believes, as we do, that the programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are on the path to bankruptcy, and that we actually can do some things to put them back on the right course and save them to protect the beneficiaries of these programs, we ought to do so,” Cantor said. “And we ought to do so without holding them hostage for more tax hikes.”

<- Prev  Page 2 of 2   View as Single Page
Washington freelancer Bill Straub is former White House correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service.

Comments are closed.

All Comments   (6)
All Comments   (6)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
If you want to see what the real inflation number is to compare what you paid for food items now and 4 years ago,what you are paying for gas and home heating oil this year and 4 years ago.Compare the cost of clothing this year with 4 years ago.
I estimate the true cost of day to day living has increased by 12% to 18% compared to 4 years ago
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'd be very interested in just how "chained CPI" is constructed. This administration, and the Federal Government geberally, are not above cooking teh books when they see an advantage.

In reading elsewhere about this proposal, some writers have pointed out that the indexing of income tax rates -- in place since Ronald Reagan's administration -- would also be affected, gradually but surely moving folks into higher tax brackets. When that is the set up, it gives the government a positive interest in inflating the currency. I lived through that once in the Carter years and don't want to see it again.

Perhaps that is the real purpose behind this idea -- reduce or eliminate bracket indexing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Quoting from the article:
"It was developed in a response to a study that determined CPI-W was overstating the rate of inflation, thus giving beneficiaries more money than they were entitled to. "

Chained CPI is simply a way to reduce benefits. Those benefits are already bad for all and even the current CPI computation doesn't address food or health care -- items Social Security and Medicare recipients depend on. Now, Obama wants to make the increases, which are insufficient today, even lower? So does Paul Ryan?
Why not just stop paying them altogether?

Social Security should not be played with like a polticial football. Either fix it permanently or don't touch it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why not eliminat current services baseline budgeting and use the chained CPI?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We need to fix these problems.Should balance the books&stop spending money,that no longer exists.How can we let Obama know,hes got to stop giving mon ey to countries which hate us?2nd.If he feels hes got to give money out,then help Americans that are struggling to living from daily to monthly?LIz
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
View All

One Trackback to “Chained CPI: The Budget Provision Dems Love to Hate”