Seventy million Americans could receive the biggest Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in more than 40 years. According to a new estimate from The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), the federal government could approve an inflation-related benefits hike by 8.7% for 2023. In total, this would be equal to $144.10 per month or $1,729 for the year. Retirees might be yelling at the clouds that it was about time after years of Social Security payments failing to keep up with skyrocketing living costs. But even with a potential 8.7% hike, is the increase still adequate?
Social Security Hike Incoming
Soaring broad-based price inflation has caused Social Security to lose about 40% of its purchasing power. “That’s the deepest loss in buying power since the beginning of this study by The Senior Citizens League in 2010,” said Mary Johnson, a Social Security policy analyst, in a statement. “Retirees know all too well that Social Security benefits don’t buy as much today, as when they first retired.”
But while this is a welcomed relief for millions of seniors who live on fixed incomes, the way COLA is measured is outdated. The retirement scheme relies on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). This figure reached 8.7% in August, slightly down from the 8.9% print in July. The problem is that this gauge is focused mainly on gasoline and transportation costs, which workers primarily endure. American seniors’ monthly expenditures are mostly concentrated on food, shelter, and utilities. These rose considerably on a year-over-year basis in August: 13.5%, 6.2%, and 15.8%, respectively.
That said, no matter how the bureaucrats gauge price inflation, every number is much lower than they report. As Liberty Nation noted, if the consumer price index were put together using methodology going back to the 1970s or 1980s, the CPI would be at least double digits.
FedEx is Fed Up
FedEx shares collapsed more than 21% to close the trading week, tumbling to $161 a share. This was the worst single-session performance on record since the stock went public in 1982, wiping out $11 billion in its market capitalization in one day. Before the Sept. 16 rout, the 1987 Black Friday trading session was the record holder. So, what happened anyway?
Investors hit the sell button after the company recorded bleak preliminary earnings, driven by diminishing demand in global shipment volumes and higher operating expenses. Moreover, the international shipping juggernaut withdrew its full-year guidance and revealed notable cost-cutting measures. Its earnings per share (EPS) was $3.44, below the market estimate of $5.14, and revenues were $23.2 billion, falling short of the $23.59 billion expectation.
“Global volumes declined as macroeconomic trends significantly worsened later in the quarter, both internationally and in the U.S.,” CEO Raj Subramaniam said in a release Thursday. “While this performance is disappointing, we are aggressively accelerating cost reduction efforts.”
Market analysts contend that FedEx’s weakness could be the start of unwinding post-pandemic pent-up demand. Because the business eliminated its full-year guidance, the plethora of issues facing FedEx – and perhaps its industry rivals – might not be transitory.
The substantial drop comes a few days after the Dow Jones Industrial Average crashed by about 1,500 points following the higher-than-expected August inflation report.
Housing Crisis in Martha’s Vineyard?
Martha’s Vineyard has captured the national spotlight after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) shipped 50 Venezuelan migrants to the millionaire and billionaire island enclave. For conservatives, it was fun exposing these leftists’ virtue-signaling. For liberals, it was a “humanitarian crisis” for a blue jurisdiction that was not prepared to take care of 50 people on the Massachusetts island. For residents, the wealthy community could not possibly handle these illegal aliens because of a housing crisis.
“The difficult challenges are at some point they have to move somewhere else. We cannot — we do not have the services to take care of 50 immigrants, and we certainly don’t have housing. We’re in a housing crisis as we are on this island, and so we don’t have housing for 50 more people,” Lisa Belcastro, the island’s shelter coordinator, told reporters on Sept. 15.
Martha’s Vineyard, which is home to former President Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey, got its way after just 24 hours. They successfully kicked out these people by having 125 Massachusetts National Guard Members relocate them to Joint Base Cape Cod. Thoughts and prayers to the brave affluent men and women.
But is there any basis that Martha’s Vineyard is experiencing a housing crisis? The region was not absent during the broader real estate boom, enjoying incredible growth but lackluster housing construction activity. Even if they did, there is no reason why they could not welcome these impoverished migrants into one of the hundreds of multi-million-dollar homes. Indeed, they were not in the market to purchase a $6 million residential property. That said, as many media outlets have already reported, Airbnb listings showed there are close to 50 private rooms available on Martha’s Vineyard.
In addition, there is hope for deep-pocketed residents. A new petition (satirically, of course) is being shared online to fund low-income housing units for Martha’s Vineyard federally. This should help resolve any issues in the future to ensure they never experience another humanitarian crisis again.