The government wants to reduce expenses by using a different CPI version of the (Consumer Price Index). Their new attempt, known as chained CPI (Consumer Price Index) (aka C-CPI-U), this alternative formula reflects how consumers change their purchasing habits when prices rise or fall for a broad range of services, including food, housing, clothing, and medical expenses.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that government spending on Social Security, Medicare, and other benefits would decline by about $300 billion over ten years if this less-generous index were in place.
The idea of switching to a chained CPI has garnered bipartisan support to rein in entitlement spending. But at what cost? There will be plenty.
Many elements of the federal tax code — including tax brackets, personal exemptions, standard deductions, limits on contributions to 401(k) plans and similar accounts, and critical parameters of the earned income and child tax credits — are also adjusted annually for the CPI. According to the CBO, switching to the chained CPI would raise an additional $150 billions of tax revenue through 2026.
The chained CPI grows on average by about 0.3 percentage points per year more slowly than the official CPI (which is weak at best gauge to the actual cost of living). The Social Security actuaries, in their projections, assume the gap between the two CPIs will continue to average 0.3 percentage points per year in the future.
The Chained CPI will chain you to a lifetime of higher taxes. According to Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, if individual income taxes had been indexed to the chained CPI starting July 2013, by 2022, 69 percent of the gains in revenue would come from taxpayers with incomes below $100,000, while those in the highest income brackets would barely be affected. In other words, raise the taxes on the middle class while leaving the rich alone.
Higher taxes are coming; start planning now!
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