Adopting Chained CPI Is a Terrible Idea on Its Own

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Somebody just asked me what I think about the idea of adopting a new measure of inflation (“chained CPI”) as a way of slowing the future growth of Social Security benefits. I am, as I’ve said before, generally in favor of some kind of balanced deal that would cut benefits a bit and raise taxes a bit in order to improve Social Security’s finances. Chained CPI is worth considering as a component in such a deal.

However, no such deal is on offer. The only proposal being offered right now is to adopt chained CPI, full stop. As far as I’m concerned, that’s unacceptable, and no Democrat should even think about endorsing it. We can argue all day about whether Social Security needs rescuing in the first place, and if we decide it does, we can then argue about exactly which combination of measures would be fairest and best. But some things should be completely off the table, and passing a package that’s 100% benefit cuts is one of them. It’s ridiculous. This is really a no-brainer.

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