The Corner

Ryan Open to Chained CPI

Representative Paul Ryan says President Obama’s decision to include “chained CPI” in his latest budget is a “notable exception” to the otherwise status quo proposals in the document. And the budget-committee chairman is open to considering the policy.

“I want to take a look at it,” Ryan says of the proposal to change how the government calculates cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security and other federal benefits. “I think the president should be commended for leaning into an issue that is not popular.” 

Ryan, however, is not endorsing the proposal, noting that House Republicans have favored an approach that would fundamentally reform entitlement programs without affecting current seniors, unlike Obama’s plan. “It’s statistical reform,” he told reporters at National Review’s office in Washington, D.C. “You can’t claim it’s great entitlement reform.”

Republicans have generally supported chained CPI, while Democrats have dismissed it as a “cut” to Social Security. Liberal interests groups protested the proposal in front of the White House on Tuesday.

The adjustment would also affect how income-tax brackets are determined, which would have the effect of increasing taxes by about $100 billion.

The president’s budget, by the White House’s calculations, would save $130 billion in reduced benefit payments over the next decade under the new system.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said Wednesday that chained CPI “as a stand-alone measure” would constitute a violation of his group’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Andrew Stiles — Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

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