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Thursday, July 28, 2011
Newsmax's Ponte Misleads on Social Security COLAs
Topic: Newsmax

Lowell Ponte writes in his July 25 Newsmax column:

Obama should also be forced to account for the hundreds of billions he has expropriated by denying Social Security recipients cost-of-living adjustments in 2010 and 2011 to offset the massive inflation his failed economic policies have caused. His administration has already said that most seniors will also receive no such cost of living increases in 2012.

In fact, the COLA provision mechanism was created in 1972, and Obama has no hand in whether or not to give one. As the Social Security Administration describes it regarding the lack of a COLA for 2011:

The Social Security Act provides for an automatic increase in Social Security and SSI benefits if there is an increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of the last year a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) was determined to the third quarter of the current year.  As determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is no increase in the CPI-W from the third quarter of 2008, the last year a COLA was determined, to the third quarter of 2010, therefore, under existing law, there can be no COLA in 2011.

Further, Obama championed a $250 payment to seniors in lieu of a COLA in 2009, which was approved as part of the stimulus bill. He also championed another payment for 2010, but bills to do that died in committee. Republicans blocked the bill containing the payment for this year, claiming the country couldn't afford it.

If Ponte wants some answers to questions to why Social Security recipients aren't getting more money, he might want to check the people in his own party first before haranguing Obama about something he can't control.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:30 PM EDT

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