The Tip of the Iceberg

By Richard Thayer

On Wednesday (December 8) Republicans voted down the bill (HR 5987) that would have given senior adults on Social Security an additional $250 in 2011. This would have helped to offset the fact that Social Security recipients won’t be getting a cost-of-living increase next year despite the fact that their cost of living has increased. The vote was 254 against and 153 for. If the man or who  represents your district is a Republican, they voted against it. Hopefully, you know who your representative is and how to get in contact with them.

Interestingly, the cost of living won’t officially go up until consumer prices rise above those of 2009. Those of you on Social Security got a little extra that year mainly because gas prices went above $4 a gallon. See, there’s an upside to high gas prices. Now if the gas prices go above $4 a gallon in 2011, you’ll get a cost-of-living increase.

One of the problems with this current formula regarding the cost of living is that it’s not accurate. Senior adults, as you are well aware if you’re one of them, pay more for health care and medications than those who are younger and healthier.

Representative Sam Johnson (R-Tex) commented after the defeat of the bill that “increasing our nation’s crushing deficit on the backs of our children by an additional $14 billion is wrong.”

My question for representative Johnson and his colleagues on the Republican side of the House would be, “Where the heck were you when President Bush was busy amassing all of these deficits during the 8 years of his administration? Are you just now coming out of the woodwork?”

And if he and the other Republicans are so deeply concerned about this “crushing deficit,” how come they just gave tax breaks to everyone making over $250,000 a year? Taxes paid by our nation’s top two percent would have gone a long way to reduce said deficit.

I agree with Barbara Kennelly, president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare who said in response to Wednesday’s vote that it was a “cruel irony” that while Congress and the White House were negotiating a deal extending huge tax cuts to the wealthy, that it’s somehow fiscally irresponsible to provide our senior citizens with an extra $250.

For those writing or calling your congress person, the bill to reference is HR 5987. For a list of North Carolina’s representatives and how to contact them, click here.


If you haven’t contacted your representative before, I would suggest you make a habit of it in the future because what we’re seeing now in Congress is just the tip of the iceberg.  It will get worse in 2011.


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