Sunday, October 14, 2012

On Numbers, Social Security, local econmy and, of course, Politicians

Nemaha County, KS, has a large population of us old folks. Ten per cent of our local economy comes from Social Security checks. Not an inconsequential number.

Braddley C. Bower/AP
Every year, the Social Security Administration decides whether or not an adjustment should be made in the amount seniors receive. It's called a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). The process is anything but straightforward or understandable (by the recipients).

What does this have to do with our county? The exact figure won't be available until Tuesday, but...

"Preliminary figures show the annual benefit boost will be between 1 percent and 2 percent,
which would be among the lowest since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975."

Does anyone really believe prices have only increased by 1 or 2 percent since last year? Bought any groceries lately? How about gas? (read this) I or 2 percent my skinny, wrinkled, old backside!

I don't know how to find the extent of the effect on our economy (local or national), but I'd guess it certainly will have an effect. Consumers consume. This is a nation of consumers. We got it, we spend it. Essentials come first. What's left is discretionary. That usually gets spent, too. (I sometimes wonder if the folks in Wash. DC understand that. Maybe it's so simple they think it just can't be true. Maybe a PowerPoint presentation would help.)

I'd like to see a Numbers Guy figure out what it would cost to increase Social Security checks by, oh, say about 5%. Every $ of which I'm certain would be spent. As in actually pumped into our economy. Shovels not required. Then compare that number with the bazillions that have been proven to be wasted on various "stimulus projects." Any Numbers Guys out there? Will you get back to me? Thanks.

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