Contrary to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you may have noticed that there HAS been a significant increase in the cost of living for Seniors in the past two years, although our Social Security Benefits have not been increased via COLAs for two years as they are supposed to do as the cost of living increases. Why?
Well, apparently the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is the basis for Cost of Living Adjustments, has been rigged to reflect who knows what — certainly not the REAL cost of living. A few personal examples follow, although I’m sure almost any Senior can add to the list with little effort. Apparently the members of Congress, and the Administration, think we are all so cloudy-headed with Alzheimer’s and partisan rhetoric, that we can’t hold such details in memory for long enough to complain. It is way past time to complain, but maybe the upcoming elections will provide a forum about a situation which is actually fraudulent, and should be easy to change given current laws…just change the way the CPI is calculated to reflect Reality, not Dreams.
Gasoline: Up about 35% over the period, constituting the most regressive type of taxation — on those who can least afford to pay it — along with the working/commuting/poor and middle class. We don’t all live in retirement homes you know!
Heating Oil: I don’t use it myself; I live in the woods and primarily use wood for heat, although my chainsaw does use a little gas So, I don’t know the exact number, but it likely is close to the same cost increase as gasoline – about 35%.
Electricity: Up about 10% over the period. I’m sure this figure varies with location, but is likely typical.
Groceries: Up about 10% over the period. We may eat less, but we still have to eat.
Health Insurance: Up about 20% over the period. Medicare deductions (Part B) from Social Security have remained steady (for my income level, anyway),
but there’s also the backup medical insurance many of us have from outfits like Hartford and United Healthcare, and pharmaceutical insurance like Caremark. These are among the many culprits.
Pharmaceuticals: Unfortunately, Seniors often need lots of these. Just this year, the co-pay for my Lipitor alone has DOUBLED! Is that a 100% increase?
Real Estate Taxes: As Federal taxes have remained low for the very wealthy, taxes we pay for our housing have gone up. Mine have increased about 15% in the past two years, at a time when the value of the real estate taxed has likely decreased by at least as much. Something wrong here folks?
There is much, much more, but this is the tip of the rip-off. The above are necessities, not optional luxuries, like Newt’s Breakfasts at Tiffany’s. Seniors are not only the targets of still more proposed cuts on the horizon, we are currently paying the price for going along with the nonsensical way the CPI is calculated, robbing us of the modest benefits we are owed by law.
Should we contact our “representatives” in Washington? Bombard them with e-mails? What’s a good strategy for getting the message recorded at “Headquarters”?