February 28

While The Post’s editorial board describes the sacrifice from the use of “chained CPI” to calculate benefits as “modest” [“Mr. Obama’s backpedaling,” editorial, Feb. 22], it is anything but. The average federal retiree would lose $48,000 under the chained CPI over 25 years. To those receiving the average Social Security benefit — a meager $15,000 a year — the $23,000 lost over 25 years would be far from modest. It’s not simply a matter of choosing chicken over steak; it could mean not being able to afford either.

Chained CPI is not a more accurate measure of inflation for those who rely on the calculation to maintain their buying power after they leave the workforce. The general population spends 5 percent of its income on health-care expenses. Yet people over age 62, those who would feel the burden of the chained CPI the most, spend 12 percent of their income on medical costs.

Just because a policy saves money does not mean it is the best. Reducing the deficit is a laudable goal, but we cannot allow the future direction of our country to be determined by which policy saves the most dollars and cents rather than by which one makes the most sense.

Joseph A. Beaudoin, Alexandria

The writer is president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.