The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

February 25, 2013

What’s the best ‘COLA’?

Monday, February 25, 2013 — A COLA war is going on. It hit the headlines a couple of months ago, has now subsided but is threatening to come back. It’s a war that not only can affect those who enjoy liquid refreshments but potentially everyone.

So is this a war between the big-name soda manufacturers? Actually, it’s not. I’m not talking about the best-tasting or most thirst-quenching carbonated beverage. Instead, I’m referring to the best “cost-of-living adjuster.”

Now, before you tune out, let me remind you, this version of the COLA war has the potential to affect everyone. This is because the front where the war will be waged is Social Security, and 90 percent of us are in the Social Security system. So using a popular current phrase, virtually all of us have some skin in this fight.

But just what is this COLA war? It’s a discussion (war is really too harsh a term) about the best index to use to adjust future Social Security payments received by retirees.

When Social Security was introduced in the 1930s, payments to retirees were not periodically changed to keep up with the cost of living. This didn’t begin until the 1970s, when price inflation started to be a big problem. Now, each year retirees receiving Social Security receive an increase in the amount they receive based on how some broad increase in average prices has changed.

This annual adjustment in Social Security payments is a big help to retirees. Even though the annual change can be small, over time it can accumulate to an impressive gain. For example, if a 3 percent increase is received each year for 10 years, then after a decade, the Social Security recipient’s checks will be more than one-third (with compounding) higher.

However, the big question is, What method should be used to make the annual adjustments to Social Security payments? Currently, the government uses its main inflation gauge — the Consumer Price Index, or CPI — to make these adjustments.

Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • Schyler Martin As wonderful as Ireland was, there’s just no place like home

    I expected a lot of things from my six-week study abroad program in Dublin, Ireland.
    I expected to miss family and friends, I expected to see a lot of things that I’d never seen before and I expected, more than anything else, to yearn for sweet tea. For the record, I did miss sweet tea quite terribly.

    August 1, 2014 3 Photos

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Impeachment arms Democrats, doesn't end the Obama disaster

    Republicans may have grounds to impeach President Barack Obama but they would be daft to pursue a case they cannot win in a Senate controlled by Democrats. Impeachment would only drive the Democrats' fundraising and potentially squander the GOP's best opportunity in years to capture both houses of Congress then, in two years, the White House.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Wrangling over pay for teachers

    RALEIGH – When the N.C. General Assembly reconvened in mid-May, there was talk of a short, efficient session.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    August 1, 2014

  • Patrick Gannon Two sides in debate about film incentives

    RALEIGH – It’s looking like the current film incentives program may be scrapped for a much different grant program for TV and movie production companies.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • D.G. Martin Read others’ views to be better informed, decide for yourself

    “I don’t read The Washington Post. That is not where I get my ideas.”

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon This isn’t medical marijuana

    As state legislators debated allowing the use of an extract from marijuana plants to treat seizure disorders over the past couple of weeks, it was evident that social conservatives – there are many of them in the General Assembly – felt a tinge of unease about it, even as almost every one of them voted yes.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Friends and contentment

    Last week I made my annual trip up the mountain to Sparta. My friends have a secluded home near a babbling brook. Their home and property are a haven for peace. It’s a two-plus hour ride to their home that doesn’t feel that long because I look so forward to my time with this great couple. When I arrive, the conversation seems to pick up right where we left it the last time we saw each other.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thanks for the honest deed

    I would like to thank the person that found my wallet in the parking lot of Harris Teeter on July 23 and turned it in to the Albemarle Police.

    July 29, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content