The Nov. 26 editorial on the consumer price index argued that the chained CPI is “a better measure of inflation.” However, a true measure of the inflation afflicting beneficiaries of Social Security and other federal retirement programs would take into account the rising health-care costs experienced by seniors. Measures that do this, notably the CPI-E, which monitors average consumer prices for Americans 62 years of age or older, would result in greater cost-of-living adjustments. This is a clear sign that moving to the chained CPI is going in the wrong direction.
The Post argued that the pain inflicted on beneficiaries would be minimal; it would not be. As The Post acknowledged, the decreases in benefits compound over time; however, in 30 years, when many current and future retirees will still depend on their earned benefits, these benefits would be 9.2 percent lower.
Moving to the chained CPI appears, on its face, a way to save money while simply “fixing” a formula, but individuals who have worked their whole lives to earn their retirement benefits will receive less money in the future. That will feel like a cut in benefits, because it is.
Joseph A. Beaudoin, Alexandria
The writer is president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.