We are constantly barraged with new technology and we are being told that in order to keep up with the job market, we must constantly undertake more and more education. From computers, the internet and compounding regulation such as OSHA and many others. This is a fact of life, if you choose to stop learning, very soon you will be replaced. Businesses are in the business of making money, any business that refuses to advance will quickly be obliterated in the wake of new methods and new technology. However; this isn’t completely true for all facets of employment. The Congressional Pension system is very intriguing once you look into it. Any person who chooses to participate in the program must only serve five years in Congress or six years in the Senate. From there the breakdown is very simple and is shown in the tables below:
Full Pension = 80% of $174,000 Annual (*Average Salary) = $139,200 Annual (Approximate Pension)
CIVIL SERVICE RETIREMENT SYSTEM (Elected Prior to 1984, this table does not include Social Security or Thrift Savings Plan)
|Retirement with an immediate, full pension||Available to Members aged 60 or older with 10 years of service in Congress, or aged 62 with 5 years of civilian federal service, including service in Congress.|
|Retirement with an immediate, reduced pension||Available to Members aged 55 to 59 with at least 30 years of service. It is also allowed if the Member separates for a reason other than resignation or expulsion after having completed 25 years of service, or after reaching the age of 50 and with 20 years of service, or after having served in nine Congresses.|
|Retirement with a deferred, full pension||Available if the Member leaves Congress before reaching the minimum age required to receive an immediate, unreduced pension and delays receipt until reaching the age at which full benefits are paid. A full pension can be taken at the age of 62 if the Member had 5-9 years of federal service, or at the age of 60 if the Member had at least 10 years of service in Congress. At the time of separation, the Member must leave all contributions in the plan to be eligible for the deferred pension.|
|Retirement with a deferred, reduced pension||Available to a Member at the age of 50 if he or she retired before that age and had at least 20 years of federal service, including at least 10 years as a Member of Congress.|
FEDERAL EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM (Elected Since to 1984, this table does not include Social Security or Thrift Savings Plan)
|Retirement with an immediate, full pension||Available to Members aged 62 or older with at least 5 years of federal service; aged 50 or older with at least 20 years of service; and at any age to Members with at least 25 years of service.|
|Retirement with an immediate, reduced pension||Available at the age of 55 to Members born before 1948 with at least 10 years of service. The minimum age will increase to 56 for Members born from 1953 through 1964 and to 57 for those born in 1970 or later.|
|Retirement with a deferred, full pension||Available at the age of 62 to former Members of Congress with at least five years of federal service.|
|Retirement with a deferred, reduced pension||Available at the minimum retirement age of 55 to 57 (depending on year of birth) to a former Member who has completed at least 10 years of federal service. The pension annuity will be permanently reduced if it begins before the age of 62.|
*Speaker of the House receives $223,500 Annual Salary (Approximate)
*Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate and the President Pro Tempore receive $193,400 Annual Salary (Approximate)
Members who leave congress before reaching retirement age are allowed to leave behind their contributions and receive a deferred pension later. This program covers any person serving in Congress from 1984 or later. By law their pension cannot exceed 80% of the top three years they served. Top three years refers to their highest paid top three years averaged out. All of this might seem rather confusing. Something to ponder would be that the reason for Congressional Pensions in the first place was to attract the older members to retire, thereby; to get younger members into the elected government. The Congressional Pension Program was made law in 1946, after World War II.
Funny, how the legislators vote on their own pay and their own retirement plans, right? We are constantly lectured about the economy and our rising debt, but for some reason the same people keep on getting elected. They decide how to spend our money and they face zero consequence for mismanaging our money. Some want the federal minimum wage raised to $15.00 an hour, others don’t. Some want free college, others don’t. Some want free health care, others don’t. Perhaps, instead of fighting over what we should or should not receive from our own tax dollars, we should first pass a law that any elected official should not receive a fixed salary. Elected office lacks competition once elected. We must compete, we must undergo drug screenings, we must constantly undergo furthering our own education level to simply hold a job.
Just some food for thought this midterm season. While we are out here hustling, they are skipping out of work to chase down more money for their reelection. I must say though that not all participate in this retirement system, Ron Paul famously slandered it, stating that is was completely and utterly immoral. Few others have as well. So next time you hear about antics in the House or the Senate, just realize they are not fighting over whether or not to reduce their own salaries or their own pensions, they are just fighting for their valued super pacs and not us.
We only matter come election season, the in between time is their playtime and their time to “catch up” with their own families. They do not value us, they do not care about us and most of all, we are all “blank checks” in their eyes, simple dollar signs with no human value to speak of.