This Must Be A Campaign Issue
We must be asking the wrong questions during election years. Our senators
and congressional representatives do not pay into Social Security. Many years
ago they voted in their own benefit plan.
In more recent years, no
one in congress has felt the need to change it. Their plan works like this:
When they retire, they continue to draw the same pay until they die, except
it may increase from time to time for cost of living adjustments (most retirees
go for years and years without a cost of living adjustment, if ever). For
example, former Senator Byrd and Congressman White and their wives may expect
to draw $7.8 million, with their wives drawing $275,000 during the last years
of their lives. This is calculated on an average life span for each.
Their cost for this excellent plan is ZERO.
This little perk they
voted for themselves is free to them. You and I pick up the tab. The funds
for this fine retirement plan come directly from the General Fund – our tax
dollars at work! From our own Social Security Plan, which you and I pay (or
have paid) into – every payday until we retire (which amount is matched by
our employer) – we can expect to get an average of $1,000 per month after
retirement. In other words, we would have to collect our average of $1,000
monthly benefits for 68 years and one month to equal Senator Bill Bradley’s
Social Security could be very good if only one small change were made. That
change would be to jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan
congress. Put them into the Social Security plan with the rest of us and then
watch how fast they would fix it.
Corporate Greed, Mismanagement and
An Uncaring Congress
Reports about potential fallout from shortfalls in retire pension funds
have compounded retiree fear that their best-laid plans for a secure retirement
are evaporating in a mist of corporate greed, mismanagement and an uncaring
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requires companies to
keep pensions funded and guarantees that retirees receive the same pension
benefit they were eligible for the day they retired. However, a provision
for health care benefits was removed before ERISA was passed in 1974.
For a number of years there has been a gradual,
erosion of health care benefits.
increase co-payments, provide fewer benefits, and reduce post-retirement
benefits while forecasting increased Medical expenses. Whether companies or
its retirees absorb the increasing cost, or whether it will be shared, is
still unclear. However, it is becoming clear to retirees that without legislative
the burden will increasingly fall on them.
The Emergency Retiree Health Benefits Protection Act (HR-1322)
an amendment to ERISA designed to do for health care what ERISA did for pensions
– was introduced to Congress by John Tierney, D-Mass., prior to this past
election. But the new Republican majority in both congressional houses will
make it nearly impossible to pass. Not one Republican