This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," August 24, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: For the first time since the 1970s, Social Security payments are set to stay pretty much right where they are. They are pegged to inflation and since prices are not budging, neither will those checks. My next guest wants to change that.
Congressman Anthony Weiner joining me right now, Democrat from New York.
Good to see you, Congressman.
REP. ANTHONY WEINER, D-N.Y.: My pleasure. Nice to be here.
CAVUTO: All right, so, these cost of living adjustments, Social Security, not expected to change, inflation so low. What do you what to do about it?
WEINER: Well, frankly, inflation is not really that low when you consider the products that senior citizens buy, health care, by and large, food, housing. None of those things are declining. In fact, they are going up. We have had this whole debate about this health care inflation, for example.
You know, the problem that we have here is, they arrive at the CPI — which, by the way, is not zero either. It's a little bit south of 3 percent.
CAVUTO: You're talking about consumer price index — retail measure of inflation.
CAVUTO: Go ahead.
WEINER: But the problem is that basket takes into account things like the cell phones we have and things like computers, which there really are downward pressures by competition on price.
It is not really happening in the things that seniors have. And to even show it even more pointedly, their Medicare premiums are going up by more now than what they are going to be getting additionally, which is nothing, in Social Security. So, this is not...
CAVUTO: Because the prescription drug benefits rolls into that.
CAVUTO: I see all your points, Congressman and they are all well- taken. But these are the rules that we have lived by for years with Social Security. And now you want to change the rules.
WEINER: Something — something is different here.
Here we are, we're being told that for the next two years, somehow, somebody knows exactly what the inflation rate is going to be that's going to determine this. Look, this number...
CAVUTO: It's always been this way.
CAVUTO: No, no, no, no.
WEINER: It's every year. It's done a year at a time.
WEINER: And it is not even being announced today. It is going to come out in October.
CAVUTO: But, you see, Congressman, there's people looking at this saying what you want to do with this — and it's all well-intended, and I understand that — but what if they change the rules midstream on health care?
WEINER: No, they are changing the rules this year, Neil.
CAVUTO: My point is that, all of a sudden, people are going to look at this. These are the costs or the factors going into this government program. Now we are going to potentially look at changing and going into health care.
WEINER: No, no.
What's happening this year is different than it has ever been. We have never had the announcement two years hence that we know what the inflation rate is going to be. Anyone who made that prediction should come get a job on your show — that's unprecedented.
CAVUTO: But this was...
CAVUTO: ... well-telegraphed, I'm saying. And Democrats hold the majority.