The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Government to Social Security Recipients:
“Drop Dead!”

Oct 25, 2010

For the second year in a row, Social Security recipients will get no COLA (cost-of-living adjustment) raise on their monthly checks. The federal government says there wasn’t enough inflation last year.

What a joke! But it’s a cruel one for 58 million retired and disabled–nearly one in five Americans–who rely on Social Security checks to live. For most of them, it is their major source of income.

The government measures inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is based on the prices of goods and services. But in the early 1980s, government economists began tinkering with the CPI, using statistical dirty-tricks to hide inflation. If the same way of calculating inflation were used today, it would produce an annual rate of 8.3% today–which is much more in keeping with our own experience.

Moreover, healthcare is calculated on costs for the average person, counting all the young adults who pay very little for health care, and all those who pay nothing at all because they can’t afford it. Seniors and disabled people use health care services more than most–but increases in the costs that they actually pay are not taken into account for Social Security.

This freezing of Social Security makes it clear: The CPI is a lie–one used to cut the wages of workers who have a COLA and benefits for Social Security recipients.

The politicians might as well say it: “Elderly and disabled drop dead.” Because that’s the meaning of this outrage.