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US Congress: Are Taxpayers Providing Public Pensions To Member Millionaires?

Public Pensions
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EDITOR NOTE:  No matter your political affiliation, you have to note the injustice that many career politicians in Congress are making a fortune off the backs of American taxpayers. And for what? Is Congress’ bureaucracy and inefficiency worth the cost? In a capitalist system, you make money by taking risks and competing in a real market. The market, in turn, either rewards or punishes you. Congress members are shielded from these risks as their ‘reward’ is taken directly from the people who supposedly benefit from their service. Isn’t this what President Trump once called ‘the swamp’?

Membership in the U.S. Congress is an exclusive club that comes with lucrative, taxpayer-funded privileges. Retirement perks include a lifetime pension and a taxpayer-matched savings plan with taxpayer-paid contributions of up to five percent of salary.

As the longest-serving member of Congress, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) would qualify for a yearly pension of $167,040 if he retired today. Former speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) was eligible to draw a $84,930 pension when he turned 50 in January after serving for twenty years and retiring at age 48.

Critics question the necessity of such a system. Why are U.S. taxpayers providing public pensions to millionaire members of Congress on top of a 401(k)-style plan? (The median net worth for a member recently exceeded $1.1 million.)

Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com broke down benefits received by leaders from both parties: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (net worth est. $50 million to $72 million): She’ll reap $153,967 a year in public pension and social security benefits at retirement. In addition, Pelosi could cash out an estimated $1 million lump sum through her federal saving account – and that’s just the portion of the account that was taxpayer-funded.

Our auditors calculated that Speaker Nancy Pelosi earned $5.7 million in salary to date during her 34-year congressional career. Pelosi’s salary ranged from $77,400 (1987) to today’s $223,500, as the most highly compensated member of Congress.

Originally posted on Forbes

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All articles are provided as a third party analysis and do not necessarily reflect the explicit views of GSI Exchange and should not be construed as financial advice.

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