Hoosier Vet Has Budget-Balancing Concerns

Monday, Memorial Day, is a day set aside to honor fallen veterans, but one Hoosier veteran is expressing concern that the country would be doing a disservice to those who survive if the President and Congress modify cost-of-living adjustments to veteran’s benefits and Social Security. Army veteran Tom Harris said balancing the budget through the use of a “Chained-CPI” to determine adjustments would have negative effects on those who have served the United States.

“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. And now they’re going to balance the budget on the backs of the people that served, and that’s not right,” Harris said.

Proponents of the change say the Chained-CPI is more accurate in its reflection of economy-wide inflation, and they say using it to determine cost-of-living increases would improve Social Security’s financial situation. Harris, on the other hand, said Congress has many other places to find efficiencies it can use to balance the budget. Harris is an AARP volunteer, and he said the AARP estimates that over a 10-year period, 23 million veterans would lose some $17 billion in compensation and other benefits if lawmakers were to approve the change.

Harris said many veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan return home to face a life with disabilities.

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

To learn more about budget proposals and impacts on Social Security, Medicare and veteran’s benefits, visited earnedasay.org.