Social Security benefits will not automatically increase next year for 58 million Americans because of the low U.S. inflation rate, the Social Security Administration announced on Friday.Not to worry, though, my on-the-dole boomer masters. His Glorious Excellency O'Bomber I is going to fix that, through one of his key minions:
This is the second year in a row that retirees and millions of disabled workers and survivors of deceased workers will not receive an automatic cost of living adjustment.
It comes at a time when retirees' savings -- often their only other source of income -- are earning poor returns because of low interest rates.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke on Friday laid out a case for the central bank to take further action to bolster growth, citing the risks of prolonged high unemployment and a U.S. economy slipping into a deflationary spiral.Now, maybe I'm underestimating the Emperor's Fed czar. His Sufficiency Bernanke may be able to calculate another amazingly microscopic inflation rate after a few more terabucks are firehosed outward. We can read about it, over a sparing cupful of ten-dollars-a-gallon skim milk.
In a much-anticipated speech in Boston, Bernanke did not spell out details of how and when the Fed would take action. But the first option that he mentioned was a program of buying additional assets, namely government bonds, in an effort to drive down long-term interest rates and stimulate economic growth.
The central bank is widely expected to announce such a program, known as quantitative easing, at the conclusion of its next policymakers' meeting on Nov. 2 and 3.
"There would appear to be a case for further action," he said at a conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
As Bernanke spoke, the government released statistics showing the so-called core inflation rate, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, was unchanged in September and is now running at an annual rate of 0.8% — well below the Fed's informal desired target of 1.5% to 2%. Separately, there was better-than-expected news on last month's retail sales activity as total sales rose 0.6% from the prior month, boosted by higher auto sales.
I can't wait.