2013 COLA Watch – November 2011 Report (Updated Monthly)

We are now in a new fiscal year. Whether or not there is a COLA for January 2013 will depend on what happens this fiscal year, specifically in July through September, 2012

The baseline level (my term for it,) which was the amount which determined the amount of the 2012 COLA, is 223.233. This was the average CPI-W for July through September 2011. We will need to exceed this amount in order to receive a COLA in 2013.

To remind everyone, the CPI-W (which stands for Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers) represents the cost of “a basket of goods and services” during the month in question. The starting point for CPI-W for most items was 1982 through 1984, when the CPI-W was initialized at 100. So, in just under 30 years the cost of living has increased 223.2%

The November CPI-W

We are continuing our poor start.

According to the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the CPI-W dropped 0.1% in November from what it was in October. To remind everyone, the October CPI-W dropped from September.

September, 2011 223.688

October, 2011 223.043 (-0.3)

November, 2011 222.813 (-0.1)

Here it is in graph form.

CPI-W Jul 11 Thru Nov 2011

For a 1% COLA, the July 2012 through September 2012 CPI-W average would have to be 225.465.

For a 2% COLA, the July 2012 through September 2012 CPI-W average would have to be 227.698.

These amounts, along with the baseline amount, are shown on the graph.

Causes for the Decrease, According to the BLS

Note: These remarks refer to the CPI-U, which is the index for all urban consumers. It includes about 86% of the population. The CPI-W is a subset of the CPI-U. It contains only about 37% of the population, and is widely considered to be less representative of the expenses of Social Security beneficiaries.

The energy index declined for the second month in a row and offset increases in the indexes for food and all items less food and energy. As in October, the gasoline index fell sharply and the index for household energy declined as well. The food index rose slightly in November, though the index for food at home declined as four of the six major grocery store food group indexes fell.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in November following increases of 0.1 percent in each of the prior two months. The indexes for shelter, medical care, apparel, and personal care all rose. These increases more than offset declines in the indexes for new vehicles and used cars and trucks.

For more information, please refer to Consumer Price Index Summary.

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6 Responses to 2013 COLA Watch – November 2011 Report (Updated Monthly)

  1. ooosillyme says:

    “So, in just under 30 years the cost of living has increased 223.2%”

    I would say that it has gone up a hell of a lot more than that while incomes have dropped significantly.

    • ssapotluck says:


      This is based on the figures from the Labor Department. The government has a variety of reasons to understate inflation. I agree with you that the actual amount of inflation seems to be considerably higher than the “official” numbers that the government foists on us.

  2. Robert Dolan says:

    What ever happened about the CPI that our government leaders were to be presenting to the house for a vote, basing the CPI on the Senior Retired People in this country. It isn’t right to base our COLA raise on what the younger generation earns and spends. It should be based on what earnings the Senior Retired People earn and spend. It is a disgrace what the govenment imposes on the Senior Retired People in our great country. The Seniors of this country, have made this country what it is, and what does our government leaders do to help our Seniors. They want to cut Social Security, give it to illegal aliens for free, cut Medicare Benefits, and make it as hard as they can, but all of our government leaders are living on easy street with our tax dollars. Our leaders were voted into office to do what is right for all the Americans in this country, but yet there are millions of senior retired people living just on Social Security Benefits, some may only be receiving 5 to 7 hundred dollars a month, I would like to see our Congressmen and Senators and all of our representative live only on that a month, and they think it is fair to give a COLA raise of maybe 1% to 3 or 4 %, that is a disgrace. I Pray that God guides and directs our Government Leaders to do what is right for our country and for the world. The American people are getting fed up with the leaders of our country are running this country, our country. God Bless, sincerely, Robert Dolan

    • ssapotluck says:

      You are referring to the the CPI-E, which, according to the Department of Labor is still experimental. Bills have been introduced into Congress to switch from the CPI-W to the CPI-E as the basis for COLA computations, but they have gone nowhere.

      Now I want to make something very, VERY clear. UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS DO NOT QUALIFY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY. THEY DO NOT QUALIFY FOR SSI, OR MEDICARE, OR MEDICAID, OR FOOD STAMPS, OR HUD HOUSING SUBSIDY, OR ANY OTHER AID OR BENEFIT PROGRAM WHOLLY OR PARTIALLY FUNDED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. I doubt that even a single state pays any sort of cash benefits to undocumented aliens. THIS IS A REPUBLICAN MEME, A BIG LIE, AND THEY CONSTANTLY REPEAT IT TO DISCREDIT SOCIAL SPENDING, TO WHICH THEY ARE PHILOSOPHICALLY OPPOSED. When someone unthinkingly repeats this they are strengthening the Republican Big Lie. I usually do not put up comments from people who include this Big Lie in their comment, because I do not want to contribute in any way to spreading it.

      I will not comment on this issue again, nor will I put up any comments which include it.

      As Josef Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany, once said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

  3. Rick says:

    oh brother…here we go…F**K Josef Goebbels…

    • ssapotluck says:

      I’d rather not. He was a homely little troll.

      I know you don’t approve of my using his quote about “The Big Lie” but basically I don’t care. It is an exact description of the Republican messaging technique. My personal favorite (?) lately is that if the taxes of rich people are raised or subjected to a surcharge, this is somehow a “job destroying” action. This is their personal taxes, from their 1040s, which taxes the net income to them from their businesses or corporations or partnerships or plain old jobs. The job creation goes on in the businesses or corporations or partnerships, etc,. The only conceivable jobs that could be affected are those people employed by the rich as servants, nannies, gardener, and the like, and I serious doubt that any rich parasite is going to fire his pamperers just because his taxes are raised.

      However, then next time you deign to comment on this blog, you will either do so politely, with a reasoned argument, or else your comment will be rejected as spam, as this one should probably have been.

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