Tom Keane’s description of “chained CPI” is very clear, but his analysis of the proposed change to how the Consumer Price Index is used to calculate Social Security is utterly wrong (“Touching the third rail,” Op-ed, April 21). The existing CPI formula is not a “goodie.”
Let’s say this year I buy steak. Then inflation or a dip in my income forces me to switch to chicken. That’s a perfectly sensible situation. Then what? My career progresses, income picks up, and it’s steak again. Again, pretty easy to grasp this dynamic of inflation.
But chained CPI only works when inflation’s effect is temporary. Retirees don’t have careers. Ten years of cuts under chained CPI means I’ll devolve from steak, to chicken, to cat food.
And all this for what? To avoid the alternative of increasing the Social Security tax cutoff? We don’t need to force real cuts on those who most rely on Social Security in retirement in order to save others a few bucks in taxes.