Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Mini-Snopes: Congressional pay edition: again
I've run into two different versions of this in the last few days. I suppose it's tied to the same populist frustration as the last one.
Let's be clear. Neither members of Congress, nor the President, nor the Vice President get their pay for life. That is bullshit. Think about it for a minute. Do you really think some one-term, House member is going to get his pay for life after only "working" for two years? Even if you're going to be extra cynical and say "they would if they could" the correct answer is, they couldn't and they never will.
Members of Congress get a civil service pension just like the person delivering your mail or sending you your tax return does: it's a formula based on the number of years they worked for the government times their highest pay grade times a fractional multiplier. The total cannot equal their final pay, even if the were boyhood friends with Jefferson Davis like Strom Thurmond was. Ever since they began to pay for Social Security and Medicare in 1984, they have been eligible to collect from them.
I'm all for economic populism, but let's focus on the right things. How much pay Congress makes is not important. How much pay you make is. How much Social Security and Medicare your parents, grandparents or you collect is. How much food, rent, and medical support other vulnerable American get is. If you've fallen into the the trap of hating the poor, then do it for the veterans. Many of them are poor, old, hungry, and sick. Everyone loves the veterans, in theory. It's too bad they don't care as much for the civilians that the veterans were protecting.