A chained CPI measure would have meant lower cost-of-living increases in Social Security but the idea is dead for now. Obama had put the change on the table but insisted Republicans offer to close tax loopholes in exchange. A White House official said, Republicans refused to identify any tax loopholes they’d be willing to close in exchange for the cost-of-living adjustment so the idea has been dropped.

With inflation flat it’s not a great time for cutting transfers to individuals, even if this would have only been a small adjustment. It’s also a sign that the push for US austerity is losing momentum.