Yesterday, the Seattle Times(and a few other newspapers I'm sure) ran a story questioning the dollar amount of Congressional pensions, in this time of budgetary stress.
There were some sobering stats in this article, one of them being that this year there are 75 new retirees from Congress this year...and their combined pensions will add $28 MILLION a year to our budget. The headliner on the list is local Congressman Norm Dicks, a 36-year career politician, who due to his length of service time, immediately began collecting a $107K a year pension, which he will earn ON TOP of whatever money he is making a 'consultant with defense companies', whom he spent years approving budgets for in Congress. Nothing incestuous there.
Hey...I am a free market guy. If the shareholders at Dell, or HP, want to allow their Board to provided 10's of millions of dollars worth of Golden Parachutes to executives, fine. Just know, I am willing to do 20% as good a job for 20% as good of a job for 10% of that money.
As far as Congress...that's pretty out of line. Especially, because: He doesn't NEED it. Heck...he even has selected an option that means he isn't earning his max pension of 125K a year like Dick Lugar, so his wife can keep earning some if he passes away. I HAVE to believe whatever sweetheart deals he is getting as a consultant render his pension a minority of his income.
It's just broken. Then, on the other side, there is Ron Paul. Now, Dr. Paul wouldn't quite max out like Norm Dicks, but he would still qualify for something around an 80K a year pension...and he turned it down, because he doesn't NEED it. He has shown character, unlike Mr. Dicks. Props also go to Howard Coble, of North Carolina, who turned down his pension.
If it's broken, how do we fix it? Well...make the pensions go away. That's easy. Unfortunately, I don't personally believe you can go yank them back from the folks how have earned them, as much as they may not need them. You can say NO MORE. Here...you get a 401(k) which is what a lot of companies and other organizations are doing. The day's of your traditional 'pension' are going away. If you were part of the generation and a half that got one...good for you. You managed to pull the wool over everyone's eyes. It's becoming clear though, that these type of pensions(at ALL levels...private, city, state, Federal) are not sustainable.