Millionaires plan surgery to ‘fix’ your pension plan

Three years ago the New York Times reported that “for the first time in history, more than half the members of the House and Senate are now millionaires.” That’s good news, right?

Maybe. Maybe not.

If so many of them are rich, it must mean they are smart, or lucky, or both. And if half or more of them are millionaires, they won’t stand in the way of the rest of us trying to get ahead, right?

Or does the fact that they’ve got theirs — by whatever means — mean they look down on members of the masses who haven’t had the luck, the education, the breaks, the hustle to get ahead?

What are the odds that a legislative body — the House and Senate — will take care of benefits (like retirement, and health care) for the 2 million plus federal workers in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government? Like their pensions.

Many if not most members of Congress are fixed for life. They are under a modified version of the Civil Service Retirement System or the Federal Employees Retirement System that replaced it in the mid 1980s. Many will be able to retire on life-time annuities that go up when inflation rises. And continue even into death of the representative or senator provides for a survivor benefit for his or her spouse. While they voted to leave the Federal Employees Health Benefits System with the advent of the Affordable Care Act, the Office of Personnel Management ruled — with a nudge, nudge, nudge from Congress — that the government would continue to pay the lion’s share of their health premiums. That amount — about 72 percent — remains the same no matter how much premiums go up each year for federal-postal and retirees, or for members of Congress in their special D.C. exchange.

The state of mind (and wallet) of members of Congress could be a factor in the few remaining 2017 workdays Congress will have after it returns next week. One of the key items on its plate is your pension plan. The CSRS, FERS or CSRS Offset retirement packages. There are serious proposals to whack the programs, to cut future benefits, reduce or eliminate inflation-protection, require workers to pay more for their retirement. Included is one proposal to drop the FERS program for future hires and limit them to Social Security and whatever they can set aside with an enhanced 401(k) plan (the Thrift Savings Plan).

Earlier this week, the highly respected Congressional Budget Office issued a report on five of the potential changes, which if enacted, would also apply to CBO workers too. So what’s the diagnosis? Checkout the report an analysis. After you’ve digested it you may want to contact affluent persons who ‘represent’ you to let them know you haven’t made it yet, but you do live, work and vote in their districts.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Michael O’Connell

The script for the 1953 comedy movie “How to Marry a Millionaire” is based on two plays: “The Greeks Had a Word for It” by Zoe Akins and “Loco” by Dale Eunson and Katherine Albert.

Source: Wikipedia

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