CHARLESTON, W.Va. — President Barack Obama’s proposed budget, which is waiting on Congressional action, includes cuts to cost of living increases for Social Security over ten years to save an estimated $130 billion.

Courtesy photo

Robert Romasco was in Charleston Thursday for an AARP event.

But Robert Romasco, AARP national president, said Social Security should be left out of the federal budget process entirely.

“Social Security is a social insurance program.  It’s an income protection program and, as an insurance program, it benefits because everybody pays in and everybody has the opportunity to get out,” he said.

Romasco was in West Virginia Thursday for an AARP event in Charleston.

He was a guest on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline” to talk about the President’s proposed “chained CPI” cut which House Speaker John Boehner has also supported in recent years.

CPI stands for consumer price index which looks at how prices for necessities rise over time.  CPI is used to make cost of living increases for programs like Social Security.

Chained CPI is a little different because it factors in an assumption that when prices for some necessities rise, people will substitute in cheaper items.  For example, if the price of milk rises, shoppers may switch from a national brand to a store brand to save money.

Romasco said the problem with that formulation is, with retirees, there is little room to shift to lower cost items because they’re buying the basics at set prices.  Chained CPI, he said, would lead to lower cost of living adjustments for Social Security in the future.

“When you look at the basket of goods for someone who is retired, you have a very different set of things,” he said.  “Medical costs are a much larger share of your income and the theory behind it, substitution, really doesn’t exist.  You can’t substitute for utilities.  Most seniors are already watching every single penny they have.”

Congress has until Tuesday to approve a budget or a temporary spending bill to avert a government shutdown.  Later in October, the U.S. will hit the debt ceiling, meaning the country is in danger of defaulting on its debts if the ceiling is not raised.

Republicans are attempting to tie the defunding of the Affordable Care Act to the passage of those spending measures.

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  • Pat

    not all seniors and people on disability are deadbeats i would give my right arm to go back to work yes there are deadbeats out there that shouldnt be on it i know some myself but we arent all deadbeats

  • DCE

    some pres. beginning with Ron R. and many others moved funds from SS, to keep govt going,was any of it put back?

    • Hillbilly

      Presidents do not have that authority; Congress does, and HAS, "borrowed" from SS funds, SEVERAL times over the years.. just ask Harry Reid... he has been in there long enough to know.

  • Vic

    Not all SS beneficiaries are the same. There are retirees that depend on their SS income after being wiped out in the markets on their 401K's. There are people legitimately disabled. Get the felons and sex-offenders that are perfectly able off of SS disability. There are a high %age of these people on SS disability.

  • Hughesknight

    Captain +1

  • CaptainQ

    Isn't this the SAME AARP that supposedly endorsed ObamaCare in spite of the fact that the law takes 500 BILLION (yes, billion) dollars away from Medicare over a ten year period?

    I don't put a lot of credence into AARP's political stands anymore.

    • Shawn

      They supported Osamacare because they stand to make billions of dollars off of the bill. They couldn't care less about seniors.

    • Debra

      This is not correct. The 500, 600 , or 700 billion that everyone is claiming was taken from Medicare is not correct. This money was taken from Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage is a program of private insurance companies that were given tax payer money in addition to regular Medicare to provide services to beneficiaries. The money never entered the Medicare trus fund. It was just regular tax money that was diverted to private companies. They claimed they could provide more benefits and better outcomes. They provided some small vision and hearing services as well as a gym membership. The outcomes were no better than regular Medicare. But most importantly, this was additional tax payer money to private insurance companies

      • CaptainQ

        Well Debra, you sort of proved my argument here. Medicare Advantage is still a part of the Medicare system!

        Don't tell me you're going to buy into the Obama Administration's contention that the 500 billion reduction will be coming from trimming all the 'waste' and 'fraud' from the system. If there is already THAT much waste and fraud in Medicare, why aren't they doing something to address it in the past (or NOW for that matter)?

        • Debra

          I know for a fact that there is plenty of fraud and waste in the system. I have actually been the receipent of several double billing from providers and have contacted Medicare to get their money back. How many Medicare users understand and read their explaination of benefits? Not many, so think of all that extra money providers are getting.

  • Joe

    The money has to come from somewhere to support those lazy, entitled welfare cheats, disability fraudsters and general drains on society. It is a shame that the greatest generation that protected these peoples freedoms are being penalized for this disgusting subclass. Senior citizens should not have to be penalized for the actions of these cretins.

    • wvrefugee

      Joe, there weren't any lazy, entitled welfare cheats, disability fraudsters and general drains in the "greatest generation"??? Is this a relatively new phenomenon?

      • Hillbilly

        I am thinking that Welfare got started around 1964 under Lyndon Johnson. So the lazy ones before that time were not on government welfare.

  • DAVE

    he is mistaken,when he says " everybody pays in..." not everyone does ,, less pay in that are taking out