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john65pennington's avatar

Does President Obama think giving senior citizens $250 will buy their vote?

Asked by john65pennington (29235points) October 19th, 2010

It’s pretty obvious what the $250 “cost of living adjustment” is all about. It’s called buying a vote. If the president had been serious with the government’s money and seniors cost of living, then why is this being proposed at election time, rather than earlier this year? I am no rocket scientist, but it’s obvious that a lever-pulling vote for Obama is going for $250 this upcoming election day. Question: Am I wrong in this situation? Your opinon is…...........

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38 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

Actually it was just announced that there will not be a COLA this year. For the second year in a row. This is just when they announce it every year so the timing isn’t odd. Bush gave out the 250 too when he wanted to pass a bill to cut taxes for the rich.

syz's avatar

I certainly can’t know what President Obama is thinking, but if that is the case, I am a bit disappointed that he’s following such well established precedent. (You didn’t think this was anything new, did you?)

Tropical_Willie's avatar


It is called the new budget ( Fiscal year ) for US government starts on October 1st. Been that way forever.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

No, he’s giving them $250 to help them make ends meet. If you want to buy votes, you join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

wundayatta's avatar

Such cynicism! Did you ask the same question when President Bush did it? Somehow I think not.

jaytkay's avatar

What $250 cost of living adjustment are you referring to, @john65pennington ?

missingbite's avatar

All politicians do this crap. I don’t care what you call it. $250.00 is a slap in the face when you look at some of the real waste in the last stimulus plan. We need to get all career politicians out of office. They all suck. But then we can just debate how ignorant normal people are.

On the road leading to Dulles Airport outside Washington, DC there’s a 10’ x 11’ road sign touting a runway improvement project funded by the federal stimulus. The project cost nearly $15 million and has created 17 jobs, according to

However, there’s another number that caught the eye of ABC News: $10,000. That’s how much money the Washington Airports Authority tells ABC News it spent to make and install the sign – a single sign – announcing that the project is “Funded by The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act” and is “Putting America Back to Work.” The money for the sign was taken out of the budget for the runway improvement project.

Austinlad's avatar

From what I’ve read, the President proposed this back in February but Congress has sat on it. Of course, nobody needs to “buy” votes right more than the incumbents who will vote for it. Personally, I don’t see how a one-time $250 check anywhere near makes it up to struggling seniors for zero COLA in two years—and it still stresses the budget billions of dollars—but what do I know?)

josie's avatar

Everything that every politician does is for a vote. The real question is always who is naive enough to think they are motivated by anything other than their own power lust and the perks and priviledges of their position.

jrpowell's avatar

The last year Bush was in office COLA was around 8 percent. That isn’t a good thing.

Cruiser's avatar

@johnpowell Actually the COLA for Bushes last year was 0% as COLA is based on the previous years economic performance! Either way it is NOT up to the President, nor is it the Democrats fault there will be no COLA as COLA is an automatic adjustment controlled and established by legislation enacted in 1973 called COMPUTATION OF PRIMARY INSURANCE AMOUNT Sec. 215. [42 U.S.C. 415]

COLA Historical chart 1975 to date

GeorgeGee's avatar

$250 would certainly be appreciated more than a government pamphlet entitled “How to make do with less” or “50 great recipes for cat food”

JLeslie's avatar

I like COLA better than just giving back $300 to everyone like Bush did, during a time by the way, that the economy was not that bad. Cost of living, seems to me, is lower than 4 years ago, when gas prices were more expensive than now. Most of my food is cheaper than when gas was $4 a gallon, and seniors have medicare, so health costs should not be much higher for them, unless some of the coverage has changed, that I am not aware of.

CMaz's avatar

The “cost of living adjustment” is a way for the government to gauge how stupid the population is. And, how easy they are to manipulate.

tedd's avatar

Its on both angles honestly. The money is to help fill the donut hole (a problem with the medicare adjustments past under Bush that needed to be fixed) and to help make the elderly make ends meet.

The timing as to when the money goes out though, I wouldn’t be surprised if it occurred to them that it might be “beneficial” to have this part take effect before the rest of the bill.

Qingu's avatar

@john65pennington, I’m sure if this was marketed as a “tax cut” you’d be in favor of it.

But no, I don’t think Obama believes this is “buying the vote.” Democrats tend to believe in redistribution of wealth to a limited extent for philosophical, especially to vulnerable populations such as the elderly or the poor. Whereas Republicans tend to believe that wealth should be redistributed to the superheros of the market.

crisw's avatar

One very important point here. The COLAs aren’t determined by the president or Congress- their hands are tied. They are set by a formula tied to economic indexes.

tedd's avatar

My favorite Cola is Coke.


Qingu's avatar

@crisw, so basically the entire premise of this question is false.

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu I actually agree with the premise of this question as I would presume many of the Social Security dependents and most voters for that matter are not intimately familiar with COLA nor the legislative process in determining these increases. I would presume that most if not all of the SS dependents are very aware that they may now be going on 3 years with no COL increases and IMHO, this $250.00 “gift” weeks before an election will make some of these SS recipients pleased enough to feel better about punching the big “D” Nov 2nd.

Qingu's avatar

@Cruiser, the fact that many voters are ignorant doesn’t somehow make the premise of the question valid.

Obama is not “giving seniors $250.”

The $250 comes from a set program.

Asking “what are your thoughts about Obama handing out $250?” is like asking “what are your thoughts on @john65pennington‘s recent bestiality conviction?” It’s a leading question based on a false premise.

thekoukoureport's avatar

He tried to buy your vote with the $250.00 donut hole fix on your socialized… I mean medicare. This $250. is to buy your second vote. Obviously there is no buying your vote because the fact that he saved this country from the great depression II and worked for we the people is certainly no reason to vote for him.

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu What set program are you referring to? Our annual Budget? You are correct in that Obama won’t be giving the Seniors the money WE will in the form of another Obama stimulus payment/gift/bonus take your pick. More spending of money we just don’t have which needs to be voted on by the currently Democratically controlled Senate.

Funny part is the Dems have tabled the vote until after the Nov election and why would that be?? Smells every bit of political maneuvering by the Dems who are beyond desperate to generate warm fuzzies with the voters. Hence the question IMO is quite valid and I will leave you with a few choice quotes…

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Friday that in the post-election session ”I will be working hard to gain Senate passage for a proposal that ensures that America’s seniors are treated fairly.”

“Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio, said that if Democrats were serious about a bonus, they would have voted on it before lawmakers went home to campaign for re-election.

thekoukoureport's avatar

Oh lets privitize your social security then. Or lets make a prescription drug plan for senoirs that don’t lower the cost of prescriptions and makes it illegal to negotiate a better rate. No matter what this Historic house and senate accomplishes the right will find fault with it, attack and demonize it.
Like they say the republicans make a great opposition but can’t govern for shit!

Qingu's avatar

@Cruiser, I’m not sure what you’re suggesting. It’s a cost of living increase. It’s based on a formula. It would happen under any congress or president.

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu This is not part of the COLA legislation and as COLA’s based on the existing formulas used to calculate COLA based on the wage index and since there has been no increase in wages there is no basis for a COLA increase. This prposed $250.00 is purely a “gift” from the bottom of the Democratic parties hearts and a IMO a political stunt by the Dems. This is a similar “gift” they passed last year for the same reason and attempted to pass a second round of “gifts” to be handed out this fall that got nixed in the Senate and by a handful of Democrats to boot!

Qingu's avatar

Any support for your assertions, Cruiser?

Megaperceptiva's avatar

When you think about it, it is the president’s job to make the lives of Americans better. President Obama is helping the seniors with their expenses.

YARNLADY's avatar

No, it’s the President trying to do his job in spite of an uncooperative congress.

josie's avatar

@Megaperceptiva If it is the presidents job to make my life better, when is he going to start doing his job? So far, anytime my life got better, it is because of something I did, not because some bozo in the White House did anything. In fact, often enough, those morons have made my life worse.
Seriously, the president is the chief executive, not the chief baby sitter.

Frenchfry's avatar

Senior Citizens need that helps to make ends meet. It is a good thing. You try to live of social security and see how far you get. I hope they get it and Obama is not talking out of his ass.

rooeytoo's avatar

Let’s see $250 divided by 12 is $20.83 per month. Wow that is really going to be a great help in making ends meet! Sounds like it could be an attempt at vote buying but only for those who don’t own a calculator or do long division. But I agree, the timing makes it look a bit suss!

Cruiser's avatar

@rooeytoo That $20.83 per month is actually a very generous gift as in 2012 they forecast a 1.2 % increase in COLA finally which will be an average whopping $10.03 per month up tick!!

YARNLADY's avatar

I have an issue with the “Cost Of Living” as computed by the government. Since all of our expenses have gone up over the last year, how could the COL not show that? It doesn’t make any sense.

mattbrowne's avatar

Better than give super-rich folks million dollar tax breaks they don’t need. $250 will make a hell of a difference to many senior citizens.

Qingu's avatar

@Cruiser, my apologies. It looks like I misunderstood what was going on. There won’t be a COLA for SS this year, so the Dems want to pay out additional money in lieu of it.

Yeah, that seems kinda bribey.

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu All good! Thanks! I will bet it doesn’t pass as the Dems already know this having already tried and failed a second vote earlier this year and plus since it is coming “After” the election only makes it more of a sure bet it won’t pass. Simply a desperate election stunt IMO.

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