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Discussion Starter #1
The Senate and House have passed a budget that will reduce military retirees' pay by up to 20% over the next twenty years. Paul Ryan's website states that military retirement 'provides an exceptionally generous benefit, often providing 40 years of pension payments in return for 20 years of service'. Well if I understand correctly Representative Ryan is vested for retirement (about 60K yr) after only five years of service in congress - and with no requirement to go into harms way and be injured, crippled or killed if so ordered in defense of our country. I value the service and work our senators and reps do for our country but is THIS not extremely generous? Surely, then, house members are including a cut to their pensions in the budget as well?? Hmm. . I haven't heard any mention of that.

Comments have been made to the effect of, "Military people retire young and can work other jobs while they collect their retirement."

Most of us HAVE to work other jobs - it's pretty hard to live on and finish raising a family (remember we, "retire young") on $1700 per month! (That will only be the equivalent of $1360 in twenty years due to the cuts.)

Senator Lindsey Graham, (one of the minority in the Senate against the budget deal) said, "Of all the people we could have picked on to screw, how could we have arrived here?"

A lot of people have suggested that we need the following two amendments to our constitution:

1. Congress shall pass no law on the American people that they do not have to adhere to equally themselves.

2. Congress shall not vote themselves a pay raise unless the budget is balanced.

I think every American needs to stand and demand this happen NOW!

Please feel free to like, share, tweet, copy, paste and message-in-a-bottle this to every corner of the planet!
 

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This outrage needs to be shouted over and over and over until everyone "gets it".
 

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What they don't seem to understand is that for an example I worked for 9 months with no days off and 12 hours a day. Actually I did that several times and guess what? My pay did not change one iota. It seems that it was always the military to pay the price. I can still remember Jimmy Carter saying that we will use the military to set the example to overcome the high interest rates etc. Jackie B.
 

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I am not intending to get into a 'pissing' contest here on military vs. Congressional pensions. Let's state the facts, though, before someone's 'understanding' becomes truth.


According to the Congressional Research Service, as of their report on August 9, 2013 titled Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress:


Prior to 1984, neither federal civil service employees nor Members of Congress paid Social
Security taxes, nor were they eligible for Social Security benefits. Members of Congress and
other federal employees were instead covered by a separate pension plan called the Civil Service
Retirement System (CSRS). The 1983 amendments to the Social Security Act (P.L. 98-21)
required federal employees first hired after 1983 to participate in Social Security. These
amendments also required all Members of Congress to participate in Social Security as of January
1, 1984, regardless of when they first entered Congress. Because CSRS was not designed to
coordinate with Social Security, Congress directed the development of a new retirement plan for
federal workers. The result was the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-
335).


Members of Congress first elected in 1984 or later are covered automatically under the Federal
Employees’ Retirement System (FERS). All Senators and those Representatives serving as
Members prior to September 30, 2003, may decline this coverage. Representatives entering office on or after September 30, 2003, cannot elect to be excluded from such coverage. Members who were already in Congress when Social Security coverage went into effect could either remain in CSRS or change their coverage to FERS. Members are now covered under one of four different
retirement arrangements:


• CSRS and Social Security;


• The “CSRS Offset” plan, which includes both CSRS and Social Security, but
with CSRS contributions and benefits reduced by Social Security contributions
and benefits;


• FERS and Social Security; or


• Social Security alone.


Congressional pensions, like those of other federal employees, are financed through a
combination of employee and employer contributions. All Members pay Social Security payroll
taxes equal to 6.2% of the Social Security taxable wage base ($113,700 in 2013). Members
enrolled in FERS and elected prior to 2013 also pay 1.3% of full salary to the Civil Service
Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF). Members of Congress first elected after 2012 and
enrolled in FERS contribute 3.1% of pay to the CSRDF in addition to their Social Security
contributions. In 2013, Members covered by CSRS Offset pay 1.8% of the first $113,700 of
salary, and 8.0% of salary above this amount, into the CSRDF.

Under both CSRS and FERS, Members of Congress are eligible for a pension at the age of 62 if
they have completed at least five years of service. Members are eligible for a pension at age 50 if
they have completed 20 years of service, or at any age after completing 25 years of service. The
amount of the pension depends on years of service and the average of the highest three years of
salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his
or her final salary.

The complete report can be found at the link above.

Gene in Illinois
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Gene from Illinois said: "I am not intending to get into a 'pissing' contest here on military vs. Congressional pensions. Let's state the facts, though, before someone's 'understanding' becomes truth."

If you read the last paragraph of what you posted it states just like I did - that Congressmen/women are vested for retirement at age 62 after 5 YEARS SERVICE. Or they can do 20 years and retire at 50; or 25 yrs and retire at any age - very close numbers to the military retirement. And as far as the pension amount military retirement is 50% of base pay which is about 2/3 of your actual gross when considering housing allowance, BAS and uniform allowance - so basically you get about 1/3 of what you had been making. Anyway - to argue over details of the two retirement plans is NOT THE POINT.

The point is Rep Ryan said the military retirement plan is Exceptionally Generous. Let's just agree that both plans are somewhat generous whether it's a little, medium amount or, "exceptionally" generous in a world where pensions are an endangered species. THE POINT IS the military pension is an incentive for people sign up and stick with it in careers that have become technical and where retention and experience are important. It's also a thank-you for extreme sacrifice by those who serve and their families and sometimes extreme risk. We were told we would get one thing and now the rug is being pulled from us.

AND THE BIGGER POINT is congress wants to cut our "generous" pension while keeping theirs intact.
 

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I'm not sure how retiring at age 62 with 5 years of service is in any way comparable to retiring from the military at age 38 after 20 years service (assuming the member joined at age 18). The 62 year old's future life expectancy is much shorter than the 38 year old. So, purely from an equitable point of view wouldn't the 38 year old be more likely and able to be gainfully employed in a 2nd career for, potentially, another 20-25 years ?

Let's agree that someone who runs for and joins Congress at age 57 has likely completed 20-30 years working either in the private or public sector and, therefor, likely has some accumulated wealth, whether it be in the form of a pension, an IRA, a 401(k) or a pool of money because they sold the company they founded. Also, unless I am wrong military members make no contribution to their pension, whereas Congressional members do.

The devil is always in the details. And, I could probably agree that any pension plan these days could, under certain circumstances, be called 'generous'. That said, I would not exempt anyone from changes that will put our economic obligations on a more sustainable path. Sorry to say, I would not exempt the military, despite their importance.

As an aside, I'd frankly be in favor of mandatory military service for 18 year olds; minimum 2 years. The all volunteer force was a good idea whose time, I think, may be wrong now. Many young people today do not see military service as an option at all.

Gene in Illinois
 

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Fire every incumbent, especially if their ready for their 3rd term, we have to save money, right.

Its a great reason not to reelect anyone.

Phil Berkowitz
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Gene from Illinois said:

"I'm not sure how retiring at age 62 with 5 years of service is in any way comparable to retiring from the military at age 38 after 20 years service (assuming the member joined at age 18). The 62 year old's future life expectancy is much shorter than the 38 year old. So, purely from an equitable point of view wouldn't the 38 year old be more likely and able to be gainfully employed in a 2nd career for, potentially, another 20-25 years ?"


It appears you like to argue, and that you didn't read what I posted, or for that matter, what you yourself posted very carefully. The options that I said were very close to the military plan were the retire at age 50 after 20 yrs service or after 25 yrs svc at any age both very close to he military plan and I also explained that details of the retirement plans were NOT THE POINT. You can agree or disagree with the point I was making all you want but arguing differences in military vs congressional retirement plans is just arguing for the sake of arguing and a waste of time.
 

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You can get a feel for who was in the military and who was not from comments......

So what if you can still get a job? Right now it's our choice. If I want to live on X, then I draw my retirement and live on that. If I want to do more than that affords, then I get a job. No worries, sooner or later our work hours will be dictated by a dictator!!

Many government Fed and State retirement programs do not have the limits of not exceeding a % of base salary. This is out of control.

It's the easiest to cut (military).

Paul Ryan is a whack job just like the rest of them.

RW
 

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My wife is a federal retiree and what's missing from all of these posts so far is the formula that determines your pension annuity. It's a multiplier of 1.1% mutiplied by high three average multiplied by years of service. In my wife's case, she had 25 years federal service - if her highest three year salary average was $100,000 it would look like this:

100,000 x .011 x 25 = $27,500 (her annual retirement benefit) - health care, life insurance and survivor benefit plan elections have to paid out of that. Members of congress have the same thing.
 

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Not interested in "... arguing for the sake of arguing and a waste of time." I find some tend to say that as a way to turn off further discussion.

I was trying to provide factual info about Congressional / Federal pensions which was not included in the original post. If one is going to post that we need a change in the Constitution or that Congress should make big changes, that's fine. I just think that if one does that, others who read it should also have all the facts in order to make up their own mind.

I get that some folks are angry about the component of the budget agreement that changes military pensions. I might call that the "Don't gorge my sacred cow" reaction. And usually the target of the anger is to (1) fire all the Congressional / Senate reps, (2) not re-elect any of the Congress, (3) get Congress to live under the same laws as we do, (4) stop Congress from doing anything, (5) Amend the Constitution etc. etc. Laudable wishes all, but for the most part unrealistic. If you want change in Congress, work for it.

Part of what's gotten us (the US) into the economic / budget morass we find ourselves is the idea that there are some things that should be off limits when budget changes are made. Most folks agree that economic policy / budget changes are needed. Alas, the devil is in the details. Generally, it seems the folks who cry the loudest for budget changes seem to be the ones who also shout loudest when their sacred cow is changed.

There are only priorities and those are different for everyone. Former military view military pensions as off-limits. Elderly view Social Security and Medicare as off limits. College students view student loans as off limits. The indigent view food stamps as off limits. Imagine the outcry if Granny's food stamps or Social Security were changed. OMG.

Gene in Illinois
 

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When they shaved your head, made you start wearing issued underwear, and shipped you to fight (and maybe bleed and die) that was the deal. Soldiers have delivered on their end, I don't care if it was in WWII, Korea, Vietman, of any of the young (and some not so young) soldiers coming home from the Middle East. They fulfilled their end of the deal.

Shame on us if we do not the politicians to make them fulfill their end of the deal.
 
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