On Dec. 8, as reported the next day in the Standard-Examiner, House and Senate Republicans thwarted Democratic efforts to award $250 checks to Social Security recipients facing a second consecutive year with a cost-of-living increase (Dec. 9, "GOP blocks efforts to compensate seniors"). Most Republicans contended that the nation could not afford the estimated $14 billion cost of payment and that the COLA freezes in 2010 and 2012 come after seniors received a significant boost in 2009. It is disgusting that Republicans are willing to punish fixed and low-income senior citizens because the country cannot afford the $14 billion cost of sending them a small and one-time check as a lifeline. However, they fought tooth and nail to spend $700 billion to give millionaires and billionaires a tax cut.
It is also interesting that congressional Republicans have such a slim understanding of Social Security COLAs. A COLA is a cost-of-living adjustment that is tied to inflation and consequently a higher cost of living so what they call a "freeze" is really a misusage of the word. The absence of a COLA was because there was not enough inflation in 2009 and 2010 to generate a COLA. It was not a "freeze."
The "significant boost in 2009" cited by the Republicans was simply because the 5.8 percent "boost" reflected the inflation rate in 2008. This could mean that President Obama's fiscal policies are better at keeping inflation in check than were President Bush's policies.
Dennis D. Wakefield