President Obama attempted to preempt today’s announcement that Social Security recipients will not get an increase in their benefit checks for the first time in three decades by encouraging Congress to provide a one-time payment of $250 to help seniors and disabled Americans weather the recession, the Washington Post reports.
Obama endorsed the idea, which is expected to cost at least $13 billion, as the administration looks for ways to sustain an apparent economic rebound without the kind of massive spending package that critics could label a second stimulus act, the Post writes.
An increase in benefit checks each January has been a yearly ritual since the mid-1970s, when the government moved to ensure that its subsidies to retirees, pension recipients and others who receive Social Security benefits kept pace with inflation.
Today’s announcement by the Labor Department will mark the first time that the federal formula used since then, which is tied to the consumer price index, will translate into no increase at all. That is because consumer prices have remained stagnant in the weak economy.
So what do you think of the special payment idea? Up or down?
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