For the second year in a row, there will be no Cost Of Living Adjustment, COLA, for those receiving Social Security Insurance and Social Security Disability. It's turning into an annual screwing by the government, but we don't even get taken to dinner first. And here is how it's explained on the notice from the Social Security Administration:
Your Social Security benefits are protected against inflation. By law, they increase when there is a rise in the cost of living. The government measures changes in the cost of living through the Department of Labor's Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI has not risen since the last cost-of-living adjustment was determined in 2008. As a result, your benefits will not increase in 2011.
I could be crazy, but it doesn't seem like the economy has stayed the same. It's more like things are just rising in price a little slower than usual...except for gas, which went through the roof years ago and has hovered around roof-level ever since.
And this precious CPI figure...? They're LYING about it. Flat out lying. It actually dropped last year, going from an average of 215.303 in 2008 to 214.537 in 2009. But this year, it's gone up. With Nove,ber and December still missing from the CPI index chart I found online, the CPI is currently at 217.868. Using the figure from 2008 against the current number, that indicates a 2.565% increase to inflation. According to the law that they state they're following, that's the increase I should be seeing this year. Even if I calcukated the approximate 2% drop in the CPI that usually occurs in November and December, it would come to 217.557. That would be a 2.254% increase to inflation. (Thank G-d I have the use of a calculator, or I'd be completely lost.)
To briefly explain, the CPI is compiled using the 1982 base of 100. Thus, the figure of 217.868 that I stated above would indicate a 117.868% increase to inflation since then. In other words, subtract 100 from the figure I announced and you have the percentage of price increases since 1982.
Of course, I'm probably the only person to look it up online and realize the lie we're being sold. And to whom should I take my complaint to? The Social Security Administration? They'll probably tell me to talk to the Department of Labor. They, in turn, will probably refer me to some committee made up of select Senators, and none will have the time for me. So I'll be referred to the White House, and you can guess whether or not President Obama is sitting by the phone, awaiting me angry call.
This missing increase would have brought me something in the neighborhood of $200 over the next year, using the lesser of the two increases I've mentioned. And even with that, I'd STILL be living beneath poverty level.
I should look at the figures again in a few months. If they are as I have predicted here, you can safely bet I'll be calling Social Security to ask where my money is. Because two years in a row without inflation? Steady decreases of any kind haven't been heard of since 1930 to 1938. And I'm sure The Great Depression had nothing to do with that, right?