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Hoosier Vietnam Vet Concerned Benefits Will Be Cut To Balance Budget

PHOTO: Hoosier Army veteran Tom Harris is concerned Social Security and veteran's benefits will be negatively impacted by the use of the "Chained-CPI" to make cost-of-living adjustments - a proposal in President Obama's budget to Congress.
PHOTO: Hoosier Army veteran Tom Harris is concerned Social Security and veteran's benefits will be negatively impacted by the use of the "Chained-CPI" to make cost-of-living adjustments - a proposal in President Obama's budget to Congress.
May 24, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS – Memorial Day is set aside to honor fallen veterans, but one Hoosier veteran is concerned the country will do a disservice to those who survive if the president and Congress change the way cost-of-living adjustments are made to veteran's benefits and Social Security.

Army veteran Tom Harris, an AARP volunteer, says balancing the budget by using a so-called Chained-CPI (Consumer Price Index) to determine adjustments will hurt those who have served.

"That's breaking a promise that our government made to us as veterans – that they would care for us and take care of us after we have served,” Harris says. “And now they're going to balance the budget on the backs of the people that served, and that's not right."

Proponents say the Chained-CPI more accurately reflects economy-wide inflation, and using it to determine cost-of-living increases would modestly improve Social Security's financial situation.

Harris says Congress has a lot of other places to find efficiencies to balance the budget.

AARP estimates over a 10-year period, 23 million veterans would lose $17 billion in compensation and benefits if lawmakers approve the Chained-CPI.

The Vietnam vet adds many veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan face living with disabilities.

"I mean these guys gave up a lot,” Harris says, “at a young age and a lot of them came back with one leg and one arm. And to take their benefits over years to balance the budget – come on, that doesn't make sense to me."

Harris suggests people wanting more information about budget proposals and impacts on Social Security, Medicare and veteran's benefits go to earnedasay.org.


Leigh DeNoon, Public News Service - IN