TSCL Welcomes New Legislative Consultant, Van Hilleary
Greetings loyal readers of The Advisor!
My name is Van Hilleary, and I'm honored to be the new legislative consultant for The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) in Washington, DC. The rest of TSCL’s legislative team and I will proudly continue to lead the charge on Capitol Hill to preserve hard earned Social Security and Medicare benefits.
Like my predecessor here at TSCL, the Honorable David Funderburk, who worked tirelessly for over a decade on behalf of TSCL's membership, I am a former Member of Congress who knows his way around Capitol Hill. I will try to fill the large shoes David left to the utmost of my ability, holding Congress’ own feet to the fire on the major issues that affect older Americans.
For example, you probably already know that the federal government claims to use its Consumer Price Index for Workers (CPI-W), issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), to calculate Social Security recipients’ annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) so that the purchasing power of Social Security benefits remains constant, unaffected by the eroding effect of inflation. However, the reality is that annual COLA increases have long failed to preserve the purchasing power of Social Security recipients due to the federal government’s numerous, substantial changes to how it figures the CPI. The changes have collectively served to significantly underestimate the inflation rate used to calculate Social Security COLAs, resulting in consistently smaller COLAs that hurt millions of beneficiaries.
As part of our continuing fight, TSCL developed a White Paper explaining how the CPI has been manipulated, which we’ll use to educate Members of Congress. Then we’ll help Congress draft legislation that directs the BLS to calculate and publish an additional CPI using the formula that existed in 1980, before most of this manipulation occurred. Such transparency is the first necessary step in our fight to give older Americans an annual COLA that keeps up with the actual inflation rate.
So these are exciting times at TSCL. Our legislative team is ready to do battle on your behalf, and all of us at TSCL appreciate your being an important part of our team as well.