H. R. 5305
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
May 13, 2010
Mr. Duncan (for himself, Mr. Lipinski, Ms. Fudge, Mr. Arcuri, and Mr. Harper) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor
To mandate the monthly formulation and publication of a consumer price index specifically for senior citizens to establish an accurate Social Security COLA for such citizens.
This Act may be cited as the
CPI for Seniors Act of
The Congress finds the following:
Each year the
Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor prepares and publishes
consumer price indices (the most notable being the Consumer Price Index or
CPI) that measure the rate of inflation in the economy of the
A derivative of the CPI is used to
determine an annual cost-of-living adjustment (hereinafter referred to as
COLA) for millions of senior citizens (individuals aged 62 and
over) who depend on their respective Social Security benefits.
The Social Security COLA is calculated
using the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers
(hereinafter referred to as
CPI–W), a subset of the population
covered by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (hereinafter
referred to as
While the experimental Consumer Price Index
for Americans 62 Years of Age and Older (hereinafter referred to as
CPI–E) is a more accurate measure of the average price of
consumer goods and services purchased by senior citizens than the CPI–W, it too
is derived from the CPI–U.
According to numerous credible authorities, the present methods (CPI–U, CPI–W, and CPI–E to a lesser extent) used to measure inflation are flawed and deficient in measuring the average price of consumer goods and services purchased by senior citizens, and the overall impact of inflation on such citizens.
The present sampling regarding senior citizens is too small under the methods referred to in paragraph (5), creating an opportunity for sampling error.
Prices used under the methods referred to in paragraph (5) are based on geographic areas, retail outlets, and sample items used and purchased by younger consumers and are not necessarily representative of the geographic areas, retail outlets, and sample items used and purchased by senior citizens.
The locations used under the methods referred to in paragraph (5) are urban locations that do not reflect the economic challenges faced in rural communities, which often have a far larger demographic segment of senior citizens.
Senior citizens neither have the flexibility or the ability that younger consumers have to substitute necessary purchases in response to changes in prices, nor the same options as younger consumers have to supplement their income.
Premium increases for part B of Medicare, part D of Medicare, and other health care costs affecting senior citizens are not adequately considered under the methods referred to in paragraph (5).
The cost of taxes on Social Security income is not considered under the methods referred to in paragraph (5), thus putting senior citizens at a greater economic disadvantage each year.
Mandate the monthly formulation and publication of a consumer price index for seniors
Establishment of new CPI
The Bureau of Labor
Statistics of the Department of Labor shall prepare and publish an index
monthly to be known as the
Consumer Price Index for Seniors
(hereinafter referred to as
CPI–S) that indicates monthly
changes in expenditures for consumption that are typical for individuals in the
United States who are 62 years of age or older.
Submittal to Congress
The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor shall submit to the Joint Economic Committee a description of the actions taken by such Bureau to meet the requirements of this section not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, and semi-annually thereafter.
Authorization of appropriations
There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.