Seniors in Northern Nevada protest possible Social Security cuts
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Advocates for seniors came out in force this morning in Reno to protest what they call proposed cuts to Social Security.
At least 50 seniors linked arms and formed a human chain outside the Reno Social Security Office. The rally was part of a nationwide call to action among seniors, and similar demonstrations took place throughout the country.
The main message: stop the Obama budget proposal, which has also heard support from some Republicans, that would chain social security benefits to the consumer price index, or CPI. It's a formula that looks at how the prices of stuff such as food changes over time, and it's often used to make cost-of-living adjustments in some federal programs.
The Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans--one of the groups behind the protest--is saying such a move would result in a 1,000 dollar cut to beneficiaries by the time they reach age 85.
Speaking at the protest, Scott Watts, who's the president of the Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans, said the CPI doesn't account for the rising cost of healthcare.
"These costs cannot simply be substituted with a cheaper version. A senior cannot just substitute triple bypass surgery with a double, because it's cheaper. Chained CPI penalizes the most vulnerable retirees."
Watts says that Iowa Senator Tom Harkin has introduced an alternative to chained CPI that would boost social security and keep it solvent for years. There hasn't been much discussion of the issue since it was brought up in the Obama budget several months ago, and Congress has not yet considered it for a vote. Still, Watts is calling on Nevada's U.S Senator Dean Heller and Congressman Mark Amodei to vote against it, if and when it does come up.
A spokesman for Amodei says the congressman "believes that those who currently depend on Social Security and Medicare and those who have planned their retirements based on these programs should not see changes."