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Re: Wait a minute
In Response To: "By Rush Limbaugh" ... NCR ()

The bit about the congressional pensions is a bunch of hooey. First of all, Senator Byrd is still serving as a United States Senator at age 87. He has served 45 years and has something close to a 99% attendance rate. His wife has been quite ill for the last several years so it seems obvious neither of them is going to spend many years as retired folks drawing a fat pension.

Limbaugh was apparently passing on an e-mail that was discredited years ago. Below is what (a greate site for checking out the truth of stuff on the Internet or sent to you in e-mail) said about it:

This piece has been circulating on the Internet since April 2000. So much of it is outdated, inaccurate, or misleading, it's difficult to know where to begin.
It is not true that Congressmen do not pay into the Social Security fund. They pay into the fund just as most everyone else does. (A few odd exceptions to the Social Security program still exist, both inside and outside of government.)

It was true prior to 1984 that Congressmen did not pay into the Social Security fund because they participated in a separate program for civil servants (the Civil Service Retirement System, or CSRS), but that program was closed to government employees hired after 1983:

In 1983, Public Law 98-21 required Social Security coverage for federal civilian employees first hired after 1983 and closed the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) to new federal employees and Members of Congress. All incumbent Members of Congress were required to be covered by Social Security, regardless of when they entered Congress. Members who had participated in CSRS before 1984 could elect to stay in that plan in addition to being covered by Social Security or elect coverage under an 'offset plan' that integrates CSRS and Social Security. Under the CSRS Offset Plan, an individual's contributions to CSRS and their pension benefits from that plan are reduced ('offset') by the amount of their contributions to, and benefits from, Social Security.

It is not true that Congressmen "continue to draw their same pay, until they die." The size of their pensions is determined by a number of factors (primarily length of service, but also factors such as when they joined Congress, their age at retirement, their salary, and the pension options they chose when they enrolled in the retirement system) and by law cannot exceed 80% of their salary at the time of their retirement.

The figures given as an example for Senator Bradley (or Senator Byrd, or Congressman White, depending upon which version one reads) $7,900,000 over the course of his and his wife's lifetime, culminating in a top payout of $275,000 are simply outrageous amounts with no basis in reality. There is no conceivable way Senator Bradley (or any other Congressman) could draw anywhere near that amount of money though the Congressional pension plan.

It is not true that Congressmen "paid nothing in on any kind of retirement," and that their pension money "comes right out of the General Fund." Whether members of Congress participate in the older Civil Service Retirement System or the newer Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS), their pensions are funded through a combination of general tax provisions and contributions from the participants. Right now, members of Congress in the FERS plan must pay 1.3% of their salary to FERS and 6.2% in Social Security taxes.

As of 1998, the average annuity for retired members of Congress was $50,616 for those who retired under CSRS and $46,908 for those who retired under FERS. Not bad, but not the highway robbery this piece makes it out to be.

Messages In This Thread

"By Rush Limbaugh" ... NCR
Re: "By Rush Limbaugh" ... NCR
Re: Wait a minute
Re: Wait a minute
Re: Wait a minute
Im with you David!
A Small Clarfication...
Meant this as reply to David's post
Re: "By Rush Limbaugh" ... NCR

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