Guest column: Social Security needs protection

I have always believed that if we, as employees and our respective employers, are required to pay into Social Security, the rules and benefits should not be changed in midstream. Currently Social Security benefits are based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) that is released annually by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The United States Congress is considering changing the annual cost of living adjustments calculated for Social Security recipients by going to a system called the Chained Consumer Price Index (CCPI).

The problem with the CCPI is; it finds smaller increases in consumer prices than the traditional CPI by estimating how consumers may change their buying habits as prices change. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, changing to the CCPI would result in significant cuts to Social Security benefits. A cut of roughly 3 percent after 10 years, about 6 percent after 20 years, and close to 9 percent over 30 years. For the average worker retiring at age 65, this would mean a cut of about $650 each year and by age 75, a cut of $1,130.

In a society where our seniors are already struggling, I believe this is the wrong direction for the United States Congress to go. I, along with a number of my colleagues, have introduced House Resolution 21 urging Congress to protect the Social Security benefits that aid our most vulnerable citizens and to vote against any legislation that would base cost of living adjustments to the Chained Consumer Price Index

In other news, I was happy to welcome members of Leadership Weirton to the State Capitol. Leadership Weirton represents numerous businesses in the area that continue to invest in the growth of their employees. The members are committed to learning and sharing information that can help each other better serve their respective professions and customers. Members that made the long trip to Charleston were, Alecia Sirk; Renee Salkovick, Mary Lee Ammon; Lawrence DeRosa; Will Beaumont; Danielle Welshans; Karen Mason; Marisa Marino; Mary Lou Martire-Pittman; Patty Soplinski, and Jennifer McHenry. Leadership Weirton is committed to working for a better community and a better West Virginia.

Stop by if you are in Charleston. Contact information: Facebook page: Randy Swartzmiller, or follow me on Twitter: @WV_Delegate, or my e-mail: or write to: Randy Swartzmiller, State Delegate, Room 242, Building 1 State Capitol Complex Charleston, WV 25305 or call, Capitol Office: 304.340.3138 or Mobile: 304.479.5140

(Swartzmiller is the speaker pro tempore of the House of Delegates, and represents the 1st District, including Hancock County and parts of Brooke County)