Our pampered Congress: Kill FERS
Just how self-serving and disconnected from everyday economic reality is your Congress (now enjoying a paid two-week Passover/Easter)? Consider the vast gulf between its lavish retirement package and that of the typical private-sector worker.
Citing a recent Congressional Research Service study and Employee Benefits Research Institute information, CNBC reports that while families struggle and defined-contribution 401(k) plans dominate in the private sector, the deal for lawmakers is far sweeter — even compared to other federal employees'.
Besides Social Security and a 401(k), Congress has the old-style, defined-benefit Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS). It's paying 215 former members, who average 16 years of service, pensions averaging $39,576 annually — about what the fewer than 15 percent of private-sector workers still on such plans in 2010 could expect in their entire retirement.
Lawmakers excluded themselves when they raised FERS contributions last year. And FERS benefits' value grows faster for elected employees, so they get higher-percentage FERS payouts than other federal workers with comparable service.
Private-sector experience shows FERS-style defined-benefit plans aren't sustainable. And Congress' extra perks add insult to FERS' taxpayer injury.
Two House members from Colorado have a bipartisan bill to end FERS. A Congress that truly serves taxpayer interests, not its own, would have taken that step — and done away with its own special retirement treatment — long ago.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.