If you’re not sure what “chained CPI” is, you’re not alone. That’s a feature, not a bug. In fact, its wonky and innocuous-sounding name might just be the reason chained CPI could be included if some sort of grand bargain to reduce the deficit ever materializes.
A quick explainer: Right now, Social Security and other benefits are adjusted annually in order to keep pace with inflation (as measured by the Consumer Price Index). Switching to chained CPI would mean using a different (probably more accurate) formula, which assumes lower cost of living increases. The obvious result of switching would be that the government would have to pay out less in benefits.
The reason this idea is so appealing to green eyeshade numbers-crunchers and political strategists, alike, is simple: Most people don’t like to have their benefits cut, but since so few Americans understand what “chained CPI” is, it’s more politically feasible than other options.
Democrats who might take heat for raising the retirement age, would probably elicit a collective yawn from their constituents if they voted to change how government calculates inflation.
As TPM’s Brien Beutler reported, Nancy Pelosi has even voiced support. “No, I don’t,” consider it a benefit cut, she said. “I consider it a strengthening of Social Security.” And the Wall Street Journal has also noted that, “President Barack Obama has expressed interest in the chained-CPI idea in the past.”
Read More at dailycaller.com . Matt K. Lewis.