Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Periscope: Coke Zero, Floggers and Factories

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Periscope: Coke Zero, Floggers and Factories

Article excerpt

I just don't have that much to say. I am aware that isn't the best enticement to get you to read the next 550 words, but I mean that these topics require just a few words to make a point. And I'll assume you're weary of the locker room talk.

Item the First: The government adjusts Social Security each year with a cost-of-living adjustment known, as all governmental things are, by an acronym: COLA. A group called The Senior Citizens League contends the COLA is like Coke Zero: It's just not quite the real thing. The feds have a thing called the Consumer Price Index for Elderly (CPI-E, of course) that measures the spending patterns of Americans age 62 and older. It's different than the standard Consumer Price Index, because the things older Americans need to spend money on tend to cost more and have prices that accelerate faster than, say a large pepperoni at All-American Pizza. If the government used the CPI-E to calculate the COLA, Social Security recipients would get a 1.5-percent raise next year instead of the 0.2-percent increase they're likely to get based on the standard CPI. That's a sevenfold difference, The Senior Citizens League is crying foul. If you get to spend 25 years in retirement, it's a difference of more than $20,000, with the biggest increases toward the end, when resources are fewest and health care bills are highest.

I won't get to spend 25 years in retirement, but whatever it works out to be, I'd sure like to be able to pay for my cup of coffee on the way to pick up the week's meds from Walgreens.

Item the Second: The TSA is finding more guns. Nationally, the agency found 76 firearms in carry-on bags during the week that ended Oct. 6. The week before they found 72. Most of them were loaded. They find weapons other than guns; recently a passenger in Houston had two bladed floggers in a carry-on and one in San Diego was carrying an especially unfriendly looking hatchet. …

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