WASHINGTON, July 7 Last week, RetireSafe, representing over 400,000 older Americans, held a Capitol Hill briefing presenting an important academic study focused on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and its critical impact on seniors. University of Tennessee Economist Donald J. Bruce, Ph.D., reported that the CPI now used to set the Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) is woefully inadequate for that task. The entire study can be obtained by contacting: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The event also brought veterans and health care groups together to call for a new CPI for seniors. It was opened by Congressman Daniel Lipinski (IL-3), lead cosponsor of H.R. 5305, the CPI for Seniors Act.
"Despite the fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics said there was no inflation last year, numerous seniors have told me their cost of living kept rising," Congressman Lipinski said. "The problem may be that the index used to measure inflation was created to reflect the costs faced by people who are younger and are working, not retirees. Seniors spend more money on some items and less on others. For example, seniors generally require more medical care, and given that health care and prescription drug costs continue to soar, many older Americans are finding themselves in a bind. If we're going to do right by our seniors, we need to accurately measure their cost of living so that we have a better understanding of the economic reality they face."
Congressman John "Jimmy" Duncan, Jr. (TN-2), the author of H.R. 5305, said in a written statement, "The bipartisan bill I have introduced is a very simple one. It simply directs the Bureau of Labor Statistics to develop a CPI that accurately reflects the expenses that seniors incur and report that CPI monthly to Congress." "We currently do not have a CPI that reflects seniors' expenses," he added.
Charles Partridge, Government Relations Director for the American Military Society stated, "Our members support this effort to improve the COLA calculation and believe it is essential to keep faith with our veterans and their families."
Calling it "critical to the health and well-being of America's senior citizens," National Association for Uniformed Services (NAUS) Legislative Assistant Jack Chmielewski said, "NAUS will continue to work for the passage of H.R. 5305."
Scott Williams, Vice President of Men's Health Network stated, "We believe H.R. 5305 would help ease the financial burden associated with aging as well as promote a higher standard of health and well-being for all of America's seniors."
After delivering "virtual testimony" from hundreds of seniors, RetireSafe President Thair Phillips concluded, "Clearly, it's time for a change, and the CPI for Seniors Act will make that change happen."