An old idea is emerging with supporters in both Congress and the Administration to establish a Chained-CPI as the new COLA Standard replacing the current CPI formula for annual cost of living adjustments in federal programs. The index revision is a consideration to reduce the National Debt by reducing federal entitlements and changing the tax code. The Chained-CPI grows slower than the current CPI by an average of 0.3% points a year over the past decade. Adoption would eliminate NOT ONLY the first COLA increase in more than 2 years but produce future military retiree loss of substantial lifetime retirement income. Some estimate the cumulative potential loss of income of a Master Sergeant (E-7) retiring today to be $100,000 after 20 years.
Others impacted by a Chained CPI and its reduced cost of living adjustment include: Every person receiving entitlements from the Department of Veteran Affairs but most notably, Wounded Warriors, and all who receive Disability Compensation, Pensions, Survivor DIC; America's citizens who receive Social Security benefits. Arbitrarily depressing the annual inflation rate by different criteria in a proposed Chained CPI will limit or eliminate the annual cost of living adjustment. This action on former members of this Nation's Armed Forces, their survivors, and all Social Security recipients should be rejected. It's potential harm to those who have worked and supported America in both the short- and long- term is unacceptable.
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Sean P Eagan
Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans