When we wrote about the US Women’s National Soccer team (USWNT) failure in the pay part its lawsuit versus the US Soccer Federation we didn’t include this story from the WSJ from Rachel Bachman because we didn’t think it germane to our points that the USWNT had made a reasonable decision in negotiating its collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and the judge made the obvious and correct decision. We now see the WSJ story as part of begging the question journalism.
Rachel is saying the the US Soccer Federation is in trouble because it won the suit brought by the USWNT. She says:
As the case continues, it also poses an uncomfortable social problem for everyone involved. The players and their legal team successfully rallied the team’s fans—and also its sponsors—behind their cause over the past year. Spectators chanted “Equal pay!” last year after they won their most recent World Cup.
U.S. Soccer, meanwhile, won a key hurdle in court but could continue to suffer in the court of public opinion.
Rachel is certainly doing her best to see that the last paragraph comes to be. She also writes that the judge “concluded that from 2015-2019, the women were paid more than the men. [Emphasis added]” They were paid more and they were paid according to the contract they agreed to. Either the USWNT is badly informed on their own contract or they tried to scam the US Soccer Federation.
Alessandra Malito at Market Watch has a similar approach in an article: Social Security Recipients May Be In For A Rude Awakening Later This Year. There seems to be good news for seniors and almost everyone as inflation is down but she seems to think it is bad news:
[Cost-of-living adjustment (COLA)] is linked to the consumer-price index, which has suffered lately because of low oil prices. Based on the CPI data between January and April of this year, COLA for next year would be zero, according to Mary Johnson, a Social Security policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. There are still five months until the administration announces the COLA for 2021, which occurs in October.
The adjustment in 2020 was considered minimal, at 1.6% this year, down from 2.8% in 2019. COLAs have averaged 1.4% over the last decade, down from the average 3% it was between 2000 and 2009.
Now there is some reason to think that big COLAs are good news for seniors as they might be larger than “real” inflation because of substitution effects and such. The 44th president thought so. But that is not it. In the sixth paragraph Alessandra make her point that we should use another index to adjust for inflation:
The problem: Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment is linked to the consumer-price index for urban workers. There’s another subset of CPI, known as CPI-E, which tracks elderly spending. The difference is primarily in health care and housing. Those expenses, including Medicare premiums and homeowners’ insurance, grow rapidly year over year, but benefit adjustments don’t reflect that growth.
Here is howCPI-E is described:
Opponents of the chained CPI often propose an alternative index for cost-of-living adjustments, the experimental CPI for Americans 62 years of age and older (CPI-E), which BLS has developed as a possible measure of inflation for the elderly subgroup. [Emphasis added]
It would be fair to say that CPI-E is still a work in progress. What will Alessandra say when CPI-E is lower than the other index? And neither option account for substitution effects by consumers so taxpayers might have another opinion.
Alessandra and Rachel are making the same argument. After the fact this choice is better than the choice at the time for some group. That group should be allowed to pick that alternative after the fact. Our title was Not So Strange Stories. We need to do better in our reporting so they become strange.