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Letters | Clash over proposal to reform social security

Debate over indexes overlooks a sensible alternative

Representative Rick Nolan, a Minnesota Democrat, spoke to protesters outside the White House April 9. Liberal lawmakers from both chambers of Congress and a coalition of other groups rallied in opposition to President Obama’s proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

J. David Ake/Associated Press

Representative Rick Nolan, a Minnesota Democrat, spoke to protesters outside the White House April 9. Liberal lawmakers from both chambers of Congress and a coalition of other groups rallied in opposition to President Obama’s proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

Tom Keane’s column on fixing Social Security missed the point (“Touching the third rail,” Op-ed, April 21). The battle should not be between the Obama Democrats and the hard-left Democrats as to whether to change the annual cost-of-living adjustment from the current, urban-based Consumer Price Index formula to the so-called “chained CPI.”

Both of these indexes attempt to capture what inflation does to a typical basket of goods purchased by an individual. But the basket of goods purchased by a senior citizen is different: We don't have a regular job, so we spend less money on clothes; however, we do spend more money on health care.

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There is an index, called the CPI-E, being formulated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that attempts to accurately reflect living costs of the elderly. This is where we should be focusing when we discuss Social Security benefits.

Richard Glantz

Lexington

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