You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me:
President Obama on Wednesday attempted to preempt the announcement that Social Security recipients will not get an increase in their benefit checks for the first time in three decades, encouraging Congress to provide a one-time payment of $250 to help seniors and disabled Americans weather the recession.
“One-time payment” my foot.
Reminder: There is no such thing as a temporary government entitlement.
Obama endorsed the idea, which is expected to cost at least $13 billion, as the administration gropes for ways to sustain an apparent economic rebound without the kind of massive spending package that critics could label a second stimulus act.”
“$13 billion” my foot.
Reminder: There is no such thing as a temporary entitlement that ever costs less than the government estimates.
An increase in benefit checks each January has been a yearly ritual since the mid-1970s, when the government moved to ensure that its subsidies to retirees, pension recipients and others who receive Social Security benefits kept pace with inflation. Thursday’s announcement by the Labor Department will mark the first time that the federal formula used since then, which is tied to the consumer price index, will translate into no increase at all. That is because consumer prices have remained stagnant in the weak economy — a sharp reversal from this past year, when Social Security checks grew by 5.8 percent, an unusually large amount.
Why bother with the charade of inflation-indexed COLAs if the government is going to redistribute wealth away from younger generations to the elderly whether there’s inflation or not?!
…Congress has already enacted a stimulus package that included a similar $250 payment to retirees and others who depend on Social Security, veterans’ benefits and federal pensions.
Repeat: Congress has already doled out payments to retirees and others.
This new round is a bailout for seniors who have lost money in the stock and housing markets. Obama said so:
The new payments would cost an estimated $14 billion, according to legislative sources, although the White House said the price tag would be $1 billion less than that.
In urging lawmakers to provide a second round of payments to older Americans, the president said the extra help would “not only make a difference for them, but for our economy as a whole,” adding that it would “be especially important in the coming months, as countless seniors and others have seen their retirement accounts and home values decline as a result of this economic crisis.”
This isn’t about compassion. It’s a naked $13-14 billion bribe for the seniors lobby during the contentious Obamacare debate at the expense of everyone else.
The American Spectator’s Philip Klein reports:
“We generally think proposals should be paid for, but in this case, we’re providing temporary essential help to people as an extension to the Recovery Act,” the official said. “We plan to work with Congress to discuss financing, but the President is not going to go into those discussions insisting that this be paid for.”
The announcement comes a day before the Social Security Administration is set to announce its cost of living adjustment to beneficiaries. Last year, beneficiaries received a 5.8 percent boost because soaring energy costs pushed up consumer prices, but given the sagging prices in the currently weak economy, beneficiaries aren’t going to receive any raise this year. The proposed $250 payments would represent a 2 percent increase to the typical beneficiary.
The official was quick to push back against the suggestion that this proposal — likely to be financed through deficit spending — represented a second stimulus package. Instead, the official argued that it was merely extending a provision of the $787 billion stimulus bill that is scheduled to expire at the end of the year.