Don't piss down my neck
and call it rain
--The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
So when you hear it thunder
Don't run under a tree.
There'll be pennies from heaven
for you and me
--Pennies from Heaven, Bing Crosby
If this increase is correct -- and IF we are a nation of law -- then why have S.S. recipients not been receiving our legally-mandated COLA increases? The government's excuse is that the cost of living has not risen, yet the items most affecting those on a fixed income -- gasoline and food -- have increased over the past several years. If the nation truly cared about the needs of its citizens, it would consider the commodities most consumed by Social Security recipients.
Your USDA website presents a rather benign outlook for the first paragraph, until one actually reads the statistics, which all indicate increases, whether larger or smaller. An excerpt:
Beef prices increased 0.2 percent in November and are 6.2 percent above last November, with steak prices up 5.4 percent and ground beef prices up 7.4 percent. Pork prices decreased 1.9 percent in November but are 12.9 percent above last November’s level. Poultry prices decreased 0.9 percent in November but are 2.1 percent above prices last year at this time, with chicken prices up 1.9 percent and other poultry prices (including turkey) up 3.2 percent. For most of 2009, retail meat prices were lower than the previous year due to weak demand stemming from the global recession. However, with rising commodity prices and input costs over the past 6 months, beef and pork prices are now significantly higher than in 2009. Increased inflation for beef and pork products is expected in the first half of 2011, as reflected in ERS's forecasts—beef prices are now projected to increase 2.5 to 3.5 percent and pork prices 3 to 4 percent in 2011.
Egg prices increased 10.6 percent in November (following a 9.6-percent decrease in October), so that egg prices are 4.7 percent above the November 2009 level.
Dairy prices were unchanged in November and are 3.8 percent above the November 2009 level. Within the dairy category, prices changed as follows in November: milk prices were up 0.6 percent and are 5.8 percent above last November’s prices; cheese prices were down 0.3 percent but are 5.4 percent above last November’s level; ice cream and related product prices were down 0.3 percent and are 1.1 percent below last November's level; and butter prices decreased 1.6 percent this month but are 32.1 percent above last November. In 2009, dairy prices were down 6.4 percent from 2008 (the largest annual decrease since 1949). However, higher projected prices for farm milk will lead to increases of 1.5 to 2.5 percent for dairy products in 2010 and potentially higher inflation in 2011 (Food CPI and Expenditures).
Food and petroleum -- the bread and butter of the average Social Security recipient's life. The government projects inflation to increase in 2011; there will be pain, even beyond that felt in the average year by a person reliant upon this stipend.
And where are the Gray Panthers in all of this, the nations largest special interest group? Social Security used to be the sacrosanct entitlement -- hands-off for every representative lest his halcyon days at the feeding trough of public largesse be cut short tout de suite. Three years running and NO increase? This is unprecedented.
How can the U.S. spend money on elective wars and pay sandbox nations hundreds of billions of dollars to pretend to be our friends while I cannot get a measly 1.5 or 2.7% increase in my Social Security check (while my daily expenses rise)? We print money and throw it everywhere except at our retirees, who spent their working lives anticipating this stipend. My life, work and contributions to my country deserve more consideration.
Ranger thought: If you are going to fuck me, have the courtesy to use lubricant.