February 6, 2010 7:07:00 PM
This is in response to a letter from Raymond Gross that was published in "Voice of the People" on Friday, Jan. 29.
He states that President Obama froze the COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) for (SS) Social Security beneficiaries for 2010 and 2011. This is not accurate, as the President has no control over the determination of the amount of the annual COLA. The COLA for SS beneficiaries is determined by a law that was passed several years ago by the Congress. This law establishes a formula by which the amount of the COLA is determined each year. For the 2010 COLA, this formula resulted in a negative COLA figure; however, the law does not provide for a negative COLA, so there was no COLA given this year. SS beneficiaries, as well as military and civil retirees of the Federal Government therefore did not receive a COLA. The COLA amount, if any, for the 2011 year will not be determined until the fourth quarter of 2010.
He also states that the Democratic majority in the Senate and House voted themselves a COLA increase. This too is inaccurate. First of all, the Congress does not get a COLA, they get a RAISE. However, they only get a raise if a raise for civil servants is passed as part of the appropriations process. The only way Congress can not receive a raise if the Civil Service employees receive one is to vote NOT to receive the raise themselves. Civil Service employees did get a raise this year, though it was a small one. Congress got the same raise only because they did not vote to opt out of the raise.
Finally, the comment that Medicare premiums increased for each SS beneficiary is not true. The Medicare part B premium did NOT increase for SS beneficiaries, because the law provides that there will be no increase in part B premiums when there is no SS COLA. Medicare part D premiums did increase, but that was because the insurance companies that run the part D prescription drug program chose to raise them.
Noel Sumrall, Columbus
raymond commented at 2/7/2010 2:13:00 PM:
Hey bro. Noel. Glad you're still kicking --haven't seen you around the old joints lately. Thanks for the technical jargon and agreeing with me about no COLA for SS and that the medicare premiums went up. Glad too that you can see how the congress would not vote "no" for a pay raise with the economy in a wreck that they caused. In this case , silence is the same as voting "yes" on the raise and BO has not condemed them for accepting it, so obviously he ok'd it. Surely , they didn't think they earned a raise, right? So let's just call it a COLA. Now, I know BO is still blaming everything on Bush but all this stuff is happening on BO's watch and he has reluctantly said the buck stops at his desk so I for one have to blame him. Sorry if I hurt your feelings but that's the way I call it. It's all his show for over a year now.
morecowbell commented at 2/7/2010 4:32:00 PM:
hey raymond. At 5 o'clock on MSNBC,the ED show comes on,in which he has a segment called psycho talk. Think you will find it to be real enjoyable.
raymond commented at 2/8/2010 10:44:00 AM:
Hey Noel, this is what prompted the original letter. BO is the HMIC in my book, it's been his baby for a long time now. Can't blame Bush or anybody else for this, right?
SSD & SSI; No COLA in 2010 & 2011 - Democratic Underground
Article by Robert Pear in NY Times below:
WASHINGTON -- For the first time in more than three decades, Social Security recipients will not get any increase in their benefits next year, federal forecasts show.
The absence of a cost-of-living adjustment, calculated under a formula set by law, will be a shock to older Americans already hit by plummeting home values, investment losses and rising health costs. More than 50 million people receive Social Security.
"Most seniors have never been through a year in which there was no Social Security COLA," said David M. Certner, legislative counsel at AARP, the lobby for older Americans. Beneficiaries have received automatic cost-of-living adjustments every year since 1975.
The forecasts, by the Obama administration and the Congressional Budget Office, indicate that Social Security beneficiaries will not receive any cost-of-living increase in 2010 or in 2011. The COLA is intended to preserve the purchasing power of Social Security.
A freeze in Social Security benefits would have major implications for Medicare because the COLA, in effect, puts a cap on premiums for Part B of Medicare, which covers doctors' services.
If there is no cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security, about three-fourths of beneficiaries will not see any change in their basic Part B premiums, federal officials said. But some beneficiaries do not have this protection and could face substantial increases in their Part B premiums.
Douglas W. Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, predicted that inflation would remain low for several years, so Social Security might not pay a cost-of-living increase until January 2013. President Barack Obama's budget assumes no increase in 2010 or 2011, then a low 1.4 percent COLA in 2012.
Earl commented at 2/8/2010 6:21:00 PM:
Thank you Mr. Sumrall for pointing this out. I believe if Raymond would do a little homework he will find that the change to the CPI calculation rules was led by Newt Gingrich. With a little more homework, he would find that Obama proposed at got approved a $250 payment last year for SS recipients as part of the stimulus plan. He also asked for another payment for this year as part of his budget. Therefore, the payment may be paid later in the year if it survives that budget process. It may not make it through the budget process because the right wing says that the recipients don't deserve the payment because thier cost of living did not increase as evidenced by the CPI calculations.
gogetum commented at 2/13/2010 9:47:00 AM:
Extracetd comments on the 250. joke for Earls homework collection. It's easy to find, Earl. You just might be 6' under before you receive that big check. Are you really looking forward to cashing in on those big bucks? Or are you just going to send it back to the white house like a good little liberal should?
10:38AM Oct 15th 2009
With 500 billion in proposed Medicare cuts for seniors what a coincidence Obama is choosing NOW to come up with a $250 vote buying check to grease the skids for Government Run Health Care.
Stop the BS politics with our money and just give seniors a COLA.
RATE THIS COMMENT: (13) Charles
10:46AM Oct 15th 2009
Forget the $250. Its a slap in the face. Write your congressman. They are the ones behind it all. This morning the banks are going to give out another big bonus. Bigger than last time. Enough is enough.
RATE THIS COMMENT: (7) jim
10:49AM Oct 15th 2009
Buy back those seniors,Barry!!...Course the same libs were laughing when Bush sent out 400...and we don't have the money which means more debt..which means Obama lied in 08 when he said you will not sign anything that added to the deficeit...and the 250 is gone and then some before it ever gets to us...but its the thought that counts
Its 14 billion not 13 million
RATE THIS COMMENT: (7) raposa
11:22AM Oct 15th 2009
I would like to tell BHO that I may be on social security but I am not taking charity. If you send me $250, I will send it straight to the RNC to get rid of you and your band of Elmer Gantries.
RATE THIS COMMENT: (0) beckjr2000
11:22AM Oct 15th 2009
I guess someone told him that the elderly are not drinking their Koolaide!
RATE THIS COMMENT: (2) dan
11:22AM Oct 15th 2009
as someone who is on disability and receives less then 800 a month i can say to all you nay sayers that this would not only help me but is very much needed you try to pay your bills with that kind of money and to read all this negative input is very disheartening
RATE THIS COMMENT: (7) libslie0066
12:52PM Oct 15th 2009
Congress increased their own benefits this year, or didn't you know that? This is a joke, I am retired also, and for this President to tell us that our costs of living have not gone up is another bald faced lie. Wait until next year, when we will be paying taxes on many more items we use in our every day life, including heating bills, electricity, food, etc. You need to find out what is happening all around you. We are on the bottom of the list as a concern to this President.
RATE THIS COMMENT: (7) libslie0066
12:49PM Oct 15th 2009
You can't make up absurdities better than this!
Isn't politics grand?
HURRAH FOR THE DEMOCRATS!
RATE THIS COMMENT: (7) bonbon
6:42PM Oct 15th 2009
so instead of a raise that goes with the cost of living we get a whole $250.00.
so should we save it, or put it towards that extra $1700.00 we are exxpected to be paying this year thanks to cap and trade. or are we supposed to divide that up for the year, which amounts to a whole $20.83 a month. or better yet $4,81 a week. or is supposed to last for the next 2 years. yep here we go again.
I do not deny this tidbit won't help, but it is like trying to fix a leak in Hoover damn, with a bandaid.
and what a lot of you do not realize is everyone on social security pays a monthly premium for medicare, we do not get it free. plus we have to meet a deductible every year, plus we pay the difference that medicare does not pay.
so before you start cheering realize, this really won't help in the longrun.
and as Mrs. Big ZERO herself stated whn Bush gave out his stimulus checks last year,
' "You're getting $600.00- what can you do with that?" Mrs. Obama said in Pontiac, Michigan last week "Not to be ungrateful or anything, but maybe it pays down a bill, but it doesn't pay down every bill every month. The short-term quick fix kinda stuff sounds good, and it may even feel good that first month when you get that check, and then you go out and you buy a pair of earrings. " '
Michelle Obama's $600 Earrings, written by Amanda CArpenter, Tuesday, July 15, 2008.
or maybe you prefer this. from the big ZERO himself.
from Obama 08: Barack Obama's plan to stimulate the economy.
"The goal should be to lessen the pain that waould occur from an economy-wide slow down, not to use American's economic hardship, as a rationale for enacting an Ideologically Driven Agenda."
so $600.00 was not enough, especially as she points out you go out and buy a pair of earrings with it, duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
remember that was when gas was $4.00 a gallon,..
and no one should use bad economic times to further their own IDEOLOGICALLY DRIVEN AGENDA.
and if that does not make them both hypocrites, I don't know what does.
observer2 commented at 2/13/2010 10:59:00 AM:
raymond, that's an interesting letter from the NY TIMES. I wonder if the ss receipients will be getting a promise of more 250.00 checks in 2011 too. Boy, woldn't that be great. What a guy this BO is. A recent poll says an unbelievable 33% of those who voted for him in 08 just can't wait to vote for him again. They're the ones who probably speak only in another language. Eyes are sure being opened for the 67% who speak and understand English.
WBRT commented at 2/14/2010 7:26:00 PM:
gogetum, observer2; It is amazing how much propoganda you 2 can come up with. Absolutely amazing.
observer2 commented at 2/25/2010 3:00:00 PM:
More facts for WBRT
" THERE WILL NOT BE A COST OF LIVING INCREASE FOR THE NEXT TWO YEARS IN SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS.
ADDITIONALLY THEY WILL RAISE YOUR CO-PAY FOR YOUR RX MEDICARE BENEFITS " !
They, the Congress (BOTH "REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATS TOGETHER") say no increase is warranted because of the losses in gross national product and other cute things..
NOW SPORTS FANS
THIS IS THE ONE THAT WILL FLIP YOU OUT!!
THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION IS FUNDING TWENTY FOUR MILLION DOLLARS-- LET ME REPEAT THAT AMOUNT...
SO YOU UNDERSTAND IT $ 24,000,000.00 DOLLARS FOR NEW ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS PROCESSING FOR OUR CONGRESSMEN AND SENATORS !!
THEY ARE OBTAINING THESE FUNDS
I QUOTE DIRECTLY FROM THE SOCIAL SECURITY WEBSITE...
"THIS MONEY WILL BE COMING FROM THE SAVINGS TO BE GENERATED
FROM WITHHOLDING "COST OF LIVING INCREASES FOR 2010 & 2011
in SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS FOR THE ELDERLY
AND A $2.00 INCREASE ON ALL MEDICARE RX BENEFIT CO-PAY"
WBRT commented at 3/1/2010 6:42:00 PM:
observer2 Just more propaganda being thrown at us. My ten year old daugther read that and she said Daddy, I can tell that isn't true.
You must dream all of these accusations during the night and wake up in the morning believing them.
2. Our View: Why tonight's state senate debate matters to us all DISPATCH EDITORIALS
3. Voice of the people: Raymond Gross LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)
5. Leonard Pitts: Holding memories for Aunt Millie NATIONAL COLUMNS