Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mitch McConnell Demands COLA Cuts To Social Security As Well as S.S. Disability Cuts - As Part of Debt Deal

"Uh, uh, yes'm! We wanna get more cuts to Social Security and Medicare to get a debt ceilin' deal!"

The latest news for citizens is not sanguine regarding debt ceiling negotiations. It's now been learned that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is demanding even more major concessions from the White House in exchange for his vote to raise the debt ceiling. This is in addition to cuts to Social Security Disability on the order of 19 percent,* and cuts to Medicare of 2 percent per year already approved.

McConnell now wants to raise the age of eligibility for Medicare and he is also seeking to reduce cost of living adjustments for Social Security recipients. In addition, the Kentucky Senator wants to add policy riders to the budget that will restrict the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to uphold clean water standards.

To sum up: tough luck if you make it to 65 and get seriously ill (say from fracking chemicals), and forget about the COLA's  - from now on you get minus one percent a year when inflation is low - not zero, and hey, if ya get sick from dirty water, that's life!

While the Obama White House seems to be resistant to caving into McConnell’s demands this time around, we understand that many Dems are on board. That means Obama could cave if the Ds make him a deal he can't refuse - say refusing to vote for final TPP passage unless the prez gives in now.

However, White House spokesperson, Jennifer Friedman made it clear the president isn’t interested in conceding to McConnell. Friedman stated:
Proposals such as raising the eligibility age for Medicare and changing the way Social Security retirement benefits are indexed to inflation are non-starters for the administration and Democrats in Congress.
On the positive side, sensible Democrats know that Republicans are likely to shoulder most of the blame if there is another government shutdown. Given the widespread popularity of Medicare and Social Security, there is little incentive for many Democrats to cave in to McConnell’s list of demands.
Having said that, the deal already finalized does contain those cuts to Social Security Disability and small cuts to Medicare.

*Update (10/27)::

According to the WSJ Social Security Disability's shortfall will be addressed by moving money from the regular Social Security Trust Fund.

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