In my capacity as a member of the AARP Massachusetts Executive Council—and as an AARP volunteer and a taxpayer—I recently visited the Hyannis district office of my congressman, U.S. Rep. Bill Keating.
Part of the reason for my visit was to deliver a package of petitions signed by more than 6,000 citizens of the 10th Congressional District, as part of “ You’ve Earned a Say”, AARP’s national conversation about the future of Social Security and Medicare. By signing the petitions, the signatories in Congressman Keating’s district asked him to advocate for protecting Social Security and insulate the long-established program from any potential cuts through the so-called “chained CPI,” which is tied to cost of living (COLA) increases and the consumer price index (CPI).
A recent proposal—the “chained CPI”—would replace the current Social Security COLA formula, lowering cost-of-living adjustments and affecting Social Security payments over time. According to AARP, “estimates show that under the chained CPI, the COLA adjustment would be about .3 percentage point below the plain old CPI. That works out to $3 less on every $1,000, which doesn't sound like much — except that it keeps compounding over time.” This would negatively affect all Social Security recipients as well as federal government and U.S. military retirees. ( Read more about the chained CPI.)
During my visit with Congressman Keating, I underscored how much AARP has heard from its membership, and beyond, about how vehemently they oppose any policy that would severely impact Social Security recipients.
I also conveyed to Congressman Keating’s staff that Social Security should not be considered or referred to as an “entitlement,” despite some factions who label it as such. Social Security is an earned benefit created from contributions “paid in” by rank and file members of the country’s workforce, military personnel, and government employees, for many decades.
Finally, I emphasized to the Congressman’s staff that AARP members feel Social Security should not be included as a federal budget line item—and was never intended to be included as such. With the current Congressional struggle to develop a fiscal plan, Social Security has no place in budget planning and must be exempt from those negotiations.
Massachusetts residents in the 10th Congressional District should know that Congressman Keating supports protecting the Social Security program. His office is well aware this individual pension-investment is the only source of income for many retirees.
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As a member of the AARP Massachusetts Executive Council, Gordon Mathieson works with those 50+ by advocating for programs to meet this group’s needs. In addition to his work with AARP, Gordon has volunteered with Reading for the Blind, the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), and has tutored in Hartford, CT schools. He served as IT director at Yale University before retiring to Falmouth, Cape Cod. A North Quincy native, Gordon invented “The Cape Cod Challenge,” a popular family board game, and has written eight mystery novels. His books also include the “Becky Bing Mystery” series for young adults.