Are you sure you want to delete this post?
Yes, I largely agree. The CPI-W cannot account for the spending habits of all Americans, and certainly not a large segment of seniors. However, as a senior myself on Social Security and Medicare, the CPI-W is probably about right. I spend more than most on gasoline in my travels and less than most on pharmaceutical drugs...in fact I spend zero on drugs except for a hospitalization last summer than was largely paid by Medicare. After that ordeal, I can't say how much I love my Medicare.
The word "entitlement" as it applies to Social Security and Medicare benefits does indeed have multiple meanings, and Republicans have sought to twist its meaning to "free stuff". Democrats should describe the benefits as a "return on investments" because that's what is. For example, the interest paid in 2014 on Social Security trust fund investments was $94.8 billion for a 3.5 percent rate of return. Try get that in your bank's savings account or CD.
Americans have invested in Social Security and Medicare their entire working lives, and the benefits they receive in retirement could accurately be called a return on their investments or, in part, return of capital to use the jargon of Wall Street. It is 100 percent risk free guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.
Would there have been better investments? It really depends on the market timing doesn't it? I consider myself a knowledgeable investor, but I relied on the professional advice of notable brokerage firms. I did a calculation one time and determined that after all the ups and downs in the market, I would have been far better off financially if I had just invested in CDs. The only people who made money off my investments were the stock brokers with their commissions.
Social Security was never meant to be the only source of one's funds for retirement. It assumes people have saved over their lifetimes. However, it does provide for the bare necessities of life if everything else is lost.