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Social Security

Posted by Rick · November 3rd, 2003 · No Comments

We hear a lot about the need to reform Social Security. The plan, which has provided a subsistence level of benefits for older retired individuals, was signed into law in 1935 by President Roosevelt.

The program was originally designed to be a retirement program. This is one of the more common reasons given for the impending doom of the program: People these days live much longer after retirement then they did “in the old days” and so they collect more benefits for a longer period of time. As noted on the Social Security website, this is not the truth. While life expectancy at birth has dramatically increased, this is because we’re better at not having babies and children die; it has nothing to do with how long people live. When looked at properly — using life expectancy at 65 — the figure is a modest five years.

This still adds up, however, particularly since the population itself is increasing. There are just more people around now. In addition, the program no longer only covers retirees; there are survivor benefits, Medicare, etc.

Social Security, it seems, needs to be reformed. This morning, I received an email detailing the plan that currently covers members of Congress and their families. It’s a great plan, if only it were real.

The email circulating on the Internet is intended to rile up voters. It makes some interesting claims about the retirement plan for Congress. I present the email to you below, but one important thing to keep in mind while reading it is this: It’s fiction.

Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during election years.

Our Senators and Congresswomen do not pay into Social Security and, of course, they do not collect from it.

You see, Social Security benefits were not suitable for persons of their rare elevation in society. They felt they should have a special plan for themselves. So, many years ago they voted in their own benefit plan.

In more recent years, no congress person has felt the need to change it. After all, it is a great plan.

For all practical purposes their plan works like this:

When they retire, they continue to draw the same pay until they die. Except it may increase from time to time for cost of living adjustments.

For example, former Senator Byrd and Congressman White and their wives may expect to draw $7,800,000.00 (that’s Seven Million, Eight-Hundred Thousand Dollars), with their wives drawing $275,000.00 during the last years of their lives.

This is calculated on an average life span for each of those two Dignitaries.

Younger Dignitaries who retire at an early age, will receive much more during the rest of their lives.

Their cost for this excellent plan is $0.00. NADA….ZILCH….

This little perk they voted for themselves is free to them. You and I pick up the tab for this plan. The funds for this fine retirement plan come directly from the General Funds;


From our own Social Security Plan, which you and I pay (or have paid) into, -every payday until we retire (which amount is matched by our employer)- we can expect to get an average of $1,000 per month after retirement.

Or, in other words, we would have to collect our average of $1,000 monthly benefits for 68 years and one (1) month to equal Senator Bill Bradley’s benefits!

Social Security could be very good if only one small change were made.

That change would be to jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan from under the Senators and Congressmen. Put them into the Social Security plan with the rest of us … then sit back and watch how fast they would fix it.

If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted and maybe good changes will evolve.

The email ends with the question: “How many people can YOU send this to?”

My suggestion is this: Don’t send it to anyone. Instead, send them the URL for this posting of mine: .

If you’re interested, the best source of information, of course, is the Social Security website. To learn a little more about the fake email — and learn some of the realities of the plans that do cover Congress — go here or here.

There is no doubt that Congress has an excellent retirement package. But propagation of falsehoods without checking them out does nothing but discredit attempts at real reform.

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