Unpleasant surprise

Comes the announcement this weekend that, for the first time in more than three decades, there will be no COLA raise for “at least” the next two years.

Anyone on Social Security or disability knows that COLA is not a soft drink. Believe it or not, there are people, like me, who depend on it.

COLA is the “cost of living allowance,” the small monthly raise that recipients get in their checks each year. While the raise is never sufficient to touch the real increase in the cost of living from year to year – it usually covers the raise in postage rates and doesn’t even come close to helping with skyrocketing grocery prices – it does have the effect of eventually increasing one’s income over a period of years.

People with money cannot even imagine what this will do to the poor, who barely keep their heads above water anyway.

Over at “Democratic Underground” (LINK), a commenter has this to say:

“Billions for banks, no cost of living raise for Social Security for at least 2 years.

“That is a sure way to start losing support very quickly. Talk about getting priorities out of order.

“Not good news on top of the defeat of the bill that would have helped several million rework their mortgages to avoid foreclosure. It was 12 Democrats who brought that bill down to defeat.

“The passion for a party will die quickly if this is going to be the path we choose.”

Isn’t the Democatic Party the party of the people, the champion of the underdog, the conscience of the county? I am through the looking glass.

What the hell is going on?

But wait.

Getting past the emotional upheaval of such a seemingly unconscionable decision, do the lesser lights among our lawmakers really think this is going to save money?

In reality, there are millions of Americans on the cusp, making just a little too much each year to qualify for any number of government assistance programs. I am one of them. For four years, I made $8 a year – a year! – too much to get healthcare help through Medicaid.

The COLA cut is going to put millions of Americans – hey, maybe even me – in a position to receive such assistance.

Is this something lawmakers have not figured out yet? Or, was this the plan all along?

Cut out that few extra dollars per month and, in the end, spend so much more as millions get the assistance which has evaded them?

Food stamps? Sounds good to me.


Infidel753 said...

It's because of things like this that I never trusted Obama; I always thought he was more a liberal of convenience than of conviction, and that he'd be too willing to compromise to get along rather than standing up for principle and real change.

Rick Warren was the first obvious sign that this concern was justified. That was a symbolic issue; this one has a direct effect on millions of people.

If they can give hundreds of billions to the financial sector with so little accountability, even on things like bonuses, they can afford to keep the COLA.

Perhaps a mass protest to Congress could be organized over the internet? Congress has responded to such pressure before.

Bill Sumrall said...

Thanks! I e-mailed a copy to President Obama. And I'm not kidding! I asked if this is the policy he intended.

Alessandro Machi said...

Barack Obama is just being a wise politician. He's weakening Hillary Clinton's strongest support base so they don't try and get her elected in the future.