Add one more thing to the list of complaints voters will be taking with them when they head to the polls Nov. 2.
The cost-of-living-adjustments for the 58 million recipients of Social Security aren't likely to happen in 2011, marking the second straight year without an increase in payments.
It isn't the fault of Democrats or Republicans, though. The annual adjustments are automatically set each year by a measure of inflation adopted by Congress in the 1970s. The decision won't be official until Friday, but all signs pointing to 2011 being the same as 2010 with no adjustment. The average Social Security benefit is $1,072 a month.
Having pointed out that the decision isn't the fault of Democrats or Republicans, we nevertheless suspect a certain percentage of voters in November won't care whose fault it is. All they know is they're not going to get a cost-of-living-adjustment for the second straight year, and they're not going to be happy about it. They'll be looking for a target for their frustrations, and it's likely that either Democrats or Republicans will do just fine, or any federal government official, for that matter.
The announcement will also undoubtedly provide an opportunity for candidates on the campaign trail to promise changes if they are elected or re-elected. Don't believe the claims if they are made. Voters should remember that if members of Congress aren't to blame for the second straight year without a raise, they also aren't going to have any authority to make changes to the system.