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A federal program that's gone flat brings us this week's Marketplace Money buzzword: COLA.

COLA stands for Cost of Living Adjustment -- the pay bump you get as things get more expensive. Over 50 million Americans got a jolt of reality this week when the Social Security Administration announced next year's COLA increase: 2.3 percent. The smallest in four years.

Experts say that energy and consumer goods are getting cheaper, thus Social Security recipients get a smaller sip of COLA. Not much of a consolation for cash-strapped seniors, who found the announcement less than bubbly.