Obama’s Chained CPI Offer is a Bad Idea


This is a bit of an obvious point, but I want to make it anyway: pretty much every liberal, even those who generally support the idea of adopting chained CPI as a more accurate measure of inflation, should be opposed to President Obama’s proposal to adopt chained CPI.

The reason is simple: chained CPI represents a cut in the growth rate of Social Security benefits. It’s arguably something that’s worth accepting as part of a larger bargain that would cut benefits a bit and raise taxes a bit in order to improve Social Security’s finances, but it makes no sense on its own. Social Security is separate from the rest of the federal budget, and its benefits should never be horse-traded away for miscellaneous changes elsewhere.

If Republicans are ever in a mood to consider a serious Social Security deal that’s designed to improve its solvency in a balanced way, that’s fine. I’m ready to listen. But that’s not on the table. Until it is, chained CPI shouldn’t be on the table either.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.