HOBART, Tasmania (CMC):West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor suffered a rare double failure with the bat, but her Sydney Thunder did enough to win twice in the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League here yesterday.In the first game of a doubleheader at the Kingston Twin Ovals, Thunder beat Brisbane Heat by five wickets in the first game and returned to defeat Hobart Hurricanes by eight runs in a night encounter.Both Thunder and Hurricanes sit top of the standings on 14 points with identical 7-2 records, but Thunder hold the edge courtesy of net run rate. Chasing an uncomplicated 95 for victory against Heat, Taylor was dismissed for a first-ball ‘duck’ as the visitors stumbled to 20 for three in the fifth over.However, Naomi Stalenburg stroked 42 and captain Alex Blackwell an unbeaten 32 in a 60-run fourth-wicket partnership which rescued the innings.Heat had earlier fallen for 94 all out off their 20 overs, with 19-year-old left-arm spinner Maisy Gibson taking three for 14.Taylor claimed one wicket for six runs from two overs of off-spin.In the second game at Bellerive Oval, Taylor managed just eight as Thunder reached 135 for seven off their 20 overs after opting to bat first.Stalenburg was again among the runs with a cavalier 37 off 16 deliveries, including five fours and two sixes.In reply, Hurricanes were restricted to 127 for eight off their 20 overs, with Taylor’s West Indies teammate Hayley Matthews scoring 11.Captain Heather Knight top-scored with 26.Taylor produced a crucial spell, picking up two for 27 from four overs, to help cripple the Hurricanes run chase.
The Senior Citizens League said a study it has done showed that in eight spending areas, people over age 65 have lost 40 percent of their purchasing power since 2000. This finding reflects factors such as big increases for gasoline, home heating oil and prescription drugs. Shannon Benton, the group’s executive director, said it supports legislation that would base the adjustment on a special gauge of the Consumer Price Index, the most closely followed inflation barometer. It would be weighted to better reflect the goods and services that older people are buying. David Sloane, director of government relations for AARP, which represents people 50 and older, said the cost-of-living adjustment is critical because so many depend on Social Security for most of their retirement income. “Just under one in three older Americans count on Social Security for nearly all of their income and almost two-thirds of beneficiaries count on Social Security for at least half of their income,” he said. Part of the Social Security increase will be eaten up by a rise in the cost of Medicare, the health care program that covers the elderly and disabled. The government said this month that Medicare premiums will rise 3.1 percent next year, which comes to $2.50 to $96.40 per month. That is the lowest Medicare premium increase in six years. Next year’s cost-of-living increase will go to more than 54 million people. Nearly 50 million receive Social Security benefits; the rest get Supplemental Security Income payments for the poor. The average retired worker will see the monthly benefit check rise from $1,055 to $1,079. A couple, both receiving Social Security benefits, will see their monthly check go from $1,722 to $1,761, an increase of $39. The standard SSI payment for an individual will go from $623 per month to $637. The average monthly check for a disabled worker will go from $981 to $1,004. The government said nearly 12 million wage earners will pay higher taxes next year because the maximum amount of Social Security earnings subject to the payroll tax will rise from $97,500 currently to $102,000. The Social Security Administration on Monday had a ceremony to highlight the opening wave of baby boomer retirements, a generation of 78 million people born from 1946 to 1964. The first of those boomers will turn 62 next year, making them eligible for Social Security benefits. An estimated 10,000 people per day will become eligible for Social Security benefits over the two decades, putting a severe strain on the pension program. If no changes are made, the Social Security trust fund is projected to deplete its reserves in 2041 and will begin paying out more in benefits that it collects in payroll taxes in 2017. Medicare is facing even greater problems because of the rapidly rising cost of health care. President George W. Bush pledged to make changes to Social Security the top priority of his second term. But his plan to provide private accounts for younger workers went nowhere in Congress and Republicans and Democrats remain deadlocked.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – With essentials like food, gasoline and medical care all rising at a faster clip, an extra $24 a month likely won’t go very far. But that is the boost the typical retiree will see in Social Security checks come January. The 2.3 percent increase in the cost-of-living adjustment that will go to 50 million Social Security recipients is the smallest in four years even though many prices are rising more quickly this year than last year. Blame it on the vagaries of how the government computes the annual COLA. The price change is based on the amount the Consumer Price Index increases from July through September from one year to the next. In the past two years, using the third quarter as a benchmark boosted the inflation adjustment, especially the 2006 increase, because it reflected the fact that gasoline and other energy products soared in September 2005 after Gulf Coast refineries shut down in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.But this year, energy costs, which were up in the spring, have been falling in the summer, a fact that lowered the COLA change. However, analysts are expecting energy prices to resume rising in coming months given a recent run-up in global oil markets that has seen crude oil prices at record highs, close to $90 per barrel. Big increases in food costs and medical care this year have been offset to a certain extent by moderation in categories of goods that older people tend to buy less of, such as computers and consumer electronics. “Retirees are going to feel a disconnect this year between the COLA increase and the reality of the inflation they face,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com. “If this calculation were done in another three months, it would be measurably higher.” The new cost-of-living figure announced Wednesday by the Social Security Administration is the smallest increase since a 2.1 percent boost in 2004. It is a full percentage point lower than the 3.3 percent adjustment for 2007. In 2006, the COLA increase was 4.1 percent, the largest in 15 years. Advocates for the elderly said the small increase highlighted the need to revamp the cost-of-living adjustment to better reflect prices paid by retired people, including the money they spend on health care.