What makes you say it is a better deal than SS? Did you compare
figures for the amount they contribute and receive as compared to SS.
SS and Federal retirement are not direct alternatives, they are
completely different. Federal retirement is similar to what a
corporation pays as a retirement, it is not intended as a back up
system like SS is.
Read my previouse message with the statistics from the Congressional Reseach
Office, then tell me it is NOT a "better deal"
Congress critters got BOTH CSRS and SS.
Again, quoting the CRO:
1. Full coverage under SS and CSRS 2. The "CSRS Offset" plan, which includes
both CSRS and SS, but with CSRS contributions and benefits reduced by SS
contributions and benefits.
3. FERS plus SS
4. SS alone
"All members pay SS payroll taxes equal to 6.2% of the SS taxable wage base
of ($84,900 in 2002). Members covered by FERS pay 1.3% of full salary to the
Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund. [Congress kicks in 11% of the
Members' salary as its contribution]. Members covered by CSRS Offset pay
1.8% of the first $84,900 of salary and 8.0% of salary above this amount
into the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund.
Some do and some don't. It's not simple. CSRS is just about over
since there was a switch to FERS in 1984. Since the retirement change
is still in transition it get pretty complicated but all congressmen
pay Social Security payroll tax regardless of the retirment plan,i.e.,
they have 6.2 percent of pay up to 87,900 (2004 maximum)deducted from
wages and 1.45 percent deducted for medicare. Since CSRS is 8 percent,
if they have CSRS they end up having 14.2 percent deducted for the
first $87,900 and 8% on salary above 87,900. That's a lot.
The other percents you stated are correct. Which means that all
members are paying at least 1.3 percent more than regular ss for the
first 87,900 plus above 87,900 they 8 percent if CSRS offset and 1.3
percent if FERS. FERS also has a 402 plan where the first 5 percent
is matched; CSRS also has a 402 but no employer matching.
The numbers you gave are mostly for CSRS retirements, and those
Congressmen were contributing a lot of money. The average guy would
really scream if he had to contribute 15.65% of his salary; 6.2% for
SS, 8% for CSRS, 1.45% for medicare.
The law limits retirements to 80 percent of the high 3 (that's for
people that think Congressmen retire at their last salary). This
confusion is increase when the term "full retirement" is used. It
means that a percon retired at the age and with the number of years
served to qualify for the full amount calculated for the number of
years served. If a person doesn't meet that qualification then they
get a deferred retirement (wait till they are older before the pension
starts), or a reduced pension, or both a deferred and reduced pension.
The best site I've seen on this subject is:
And yeah, Congressmen and Judges seem to get a pretty good deal, a lot
better than the regular federal workers.
Try self-employment. 15.3% for SS/medicare.
"There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in
America." William J. Clinton
email@example.com (Charlie Self) wrote in message
Everyone pays 15.3% FICA tax. It's just that they hide that fact from
those of us who collect paychecks by saying it is an "Employer" tax.
They can't hide it from the self employed who are both the "employer"
and the "employee".
Yep, the self employed get screwed, you pay twice as much but the
benefit stays the same as if you your employer paid half of that. I
paid more in one year to SS than I had paid over about 12 previous
years. Total tax on the last increment was a little over 51 percent
including ss, Federal, and state income taxes (that's not a guess it
was the actual percentage).
Just because I'm not responding to whatever point you are, doesn't mean I've
missed the one I'm referring to.
Fine. You show me the stats on the net worth of congress people when they
leave office and then we'll talk. And I never said they wouldn't be happy
to get it. I'd be happy if you gave me $1000, but it represents a very
small portion of my net worth. If I didn't get it, it wouldn't change my
BS. There hasn't been an outcry to change SS in the past 40 years because
the seasoned citizens are the most disciplined voting group in the country.
You go talking about making sweeping changes to SS as an elected
representative and see where that gets you. You tell me when there was a
major voter push to modify SS in a substantial way that would bring the cost
of the program under control.
Well, I figure about $100,000 has been put in on my behalf so far, so I'll
charge my emergency room stay to that. And I tell you what...don't worry
about me. Maybe you need a nanny state, but I don't.
LOL ... say what?
Simply try addressing the point in the thread that _you_ originally jumped
Don't look now, but _you_ brought up "net worth" of congressmen, _you_ back
up what you brought up.
You just missed it, dude ... you were obviously too young to have noticed.
There has been an outcry about the SS fund for years and it has been an
issue in almost every local campaign for congress since I was in High School
... I even debated it in HS in 1961 ... before you were born.
With an attitude like that, live long enough and you _will_ get one.
Yeah. Figure 36 years old, never been hurt, enver been ill, never been out of
work. So far, so good. But...bet on things changing as the years add up. He
doesn't think so, though.
"There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in
America." William J. Clinton
Wow, Charlie, you must be amazingly smart and perceptive to know everything
that has happened in my life and what I think. I guess I'm different from
most people, though, as I make plans for the likely bumps that will occur
down the road. From your comments, I'm guessing that you expect the nanny
state to take care of you. Good luck with that.
There was a MAJOR revision of the Social Security Act in the mid-80's.
Indexing of earnings, inclusion of federal employees under coverage, gradual
increase of the retirement age from 65 to 67, reduction of child's benefits
from 21 to18........ it was extensive. It was believed then that the
revisions would carry the Act through 2010 to 2040 depending on a multitude
of factors, mostly to do with the performance of the economy and population
Actually, IMHO, those old estimates proved reasonable accurate. However,
2010 is now six years, away. Currently, the estimates are that somewhere
between 2010 and 2013, the monthly SSA expediture will, for the first time,
ever, exceed the monthly income. Somewhere around 2030, the "Trust Fund"
will be completely empty.
The monies collected in FICA taxes/contributions has ALWAYS gone directly
into the US Treasury. It's not like they were put into a bank, somewhere.
The collected funds were spent to pay for programs of the Federal
government. (The Social Security Administration does not collect FICA, the
IRS does. SSA operates on Congressional approved appropriations just like
every other federal agency).
The Trust Fund(s), (there's a couple of them), are accounting fictions to
keep track of the FICA taxes/contributions separate from common taxes. And
they always have been.
Analogy. You, and your family, agree to a retirement plan. You have ten
kids. Ten percent of everyone's earnings are sent to a designated to a
"trust" fund, except the monies are really put into a general household
account. When you reach retirement age, you start collecting money from the
"trust" fund, except it really comes from the general household account.
However, by now, your ten kids have a total of 100 grandkids who are
contributing to the "trust fund", too, so you're withdrawals are not
noticeable. Your 100 grandkids, produce ten kids each and contribution
grows dramatically as 1000 great-grandkids add their contributions to the
"trust fund". However, the 1000 great-grandkids, instead of ten kids each,
only have three kids each. Now those three thousand great-great grandkids
are forced to support well over a thousand retired relatives.
Did that help explain the problems?
The performance of the economy as a whole isn't as important as the sheer
number of people paying into the system. Because of the caps on covered
earnings, few people paying ever larger contributions isn't the same as many
people paying smaller contributions.
The SS Act, is like many federal programs, a monsterous glob. For instance,
from the original act with a single beneficiary type...
A- Covered wage earner
B- Spouse of a covered wage earner
C- Child of a covered wage earner
D-Widow of a covered wage earner
F-Parent/Grandparent of a covered wage earner
HA-Disable covered wage earner
DAC- Disabled "adult" child of a covered wage earner
W-Disabled widow of a covered wage earner
J-Special Payment and coverage provisions
"Wage earner" is a traditional term. The modern term is "beneficiary"
Disability payments used to constitute about 1/2 of the monthly SSA
disbursment. With the aging "baby boomers", I expect that percentage will
decrease and I have no idea what it is currently. However, I do know that
18 months seems to be the disability "magic number" The people that have
drawn disability for 18 months and ever get back to work, drops
BTW, originally, the Act was specifically targeted for wage earners. Self
employed people were not covered. Most, if not all state and federal people
were not covered. Over the decades, practically every working (and some
non-working) people have been covered by the Act. (See vow-of-poverty cases
and the concept of wages-in-kind that extended coverage to various religious
The original intention of the Act was to provide ADDITIONAL funding to lower
end wage earners to make their retirements, if not confortable, at least
bearable. That's why, all the computations are heavily weighted so that the
lower end wage earner receiveds proportionally a greater return on
contributions than the higher wage earners. High end earners, really have a
poor "return on investment", at least compared to lower income earners.
(The benefit computations are convoluted as hell, but basically, the higher
a beneficiary's "average monthy wage" over their working life, the lower the
percentage of the wage they are likely to collect in monthly benefits. Let's
say your Average Monthly Wage, was was 1000 dollars. (Indexed, adjusted
for inflation, yada, yada, yada). The compution has "bend" points. You
might receive 75% of the first 500 dollars of an "average monthly wage",
then 60% of an AMW between 500 and 750 dollars, and the 40% of anything over
750 dollars in AMW.
Modern private pension plans, normally incorporate and anticipate a SS
covered entitlement as part of the plan. In other words, the SS Act is so
interwoven in the fabric of America, that ANY adjustments, corrections,
reforms have to be very carefully considered, least dire and completely
unintentional consequences result.
As a knee-jerk conservative, I have a natural inclination towards
privatization of Social Secuity...UNTIL one considers the mechanics of such
a process. Somewhere along the line, BILLIONS of dollars in investment
funds PER MONTH, would end up under the directions of a relatively few
bureaucrats/investment counselers. The potentional for corruption
internally, and scams externally, will be immense.
My predictions, and IMHO, they are not as wild as they might seem at first
SS benfits will be "means tested". If you a lottery winner, or a successful
and frugal wage earner, you'll never collect a dime in SS benefits.
The covered retirment age will (again) be raised, probably ending up,
somewhere around 71 or 72.
The reductions assessed for "early retirment" will be increased.
Some classes of beneficiaries (dependent grandparents????) will be
restricted and eventually de-entitled. (De-entitled?? Is there such a
Cost-of-living formulas, (that currently determine rate increases every
year) will be re-computed to reflect proportionally smaller increases (Such
things as new-housing costs will be excluded from the formula, under the
belief that very few 72 year old people buy new houses.)
Some portion of an individual's (probably less than 10%) will be
"privatized" via 401K-type plans. NOTE: While taxes maybe be delayed,
eventually the government WILL collect taxes on those "earnings".
Full-blown, stay at home and never-lift-a-finger retirements, are already
decreasing as a percentage of the total population. The trend to part-time
and reduced income work for seniors, will continue to increase.
And for a really big prediction.
How many people will be able to guess where I worked for 30 years? <Grin>
BTW, Civil Service Retirements, Veteran's Retirements (etc) are all in the
We debated this very practice 42 years ago, in High School government class.
Just like most forms of "insurance", a merry-go-round you can't stop, or get
I am with you 100% on all the above. My youngest daughter's college fund,
despite careful and professional attention, lost almost 70% of its value in
the last four years, just as she needed it ... surprise, surprise!
None of which will likely apply to congress critters, Todd. :)
Having been self-employed my entire life, I will continue to "work" until I
drop ... but I would do it anyway because my work is, and always has been,
things that I take a passionate interest in.
Well, I guess your daughter's college fund wasn't handled very carefully or
professionally. Anybody who knew what they were doing with money that was
needed within 4 years would have begun moving it into less-volatile
investments. Of course, unless they were then a total moron and sold at the
bottom, the funds would very likely now be about back to where they were.
Most investors have not recouped their losses, many have lost them entirely,
many of them because of the slick greed of others, which will not disappear
and will always be a looming possibliity for "investors" of any type.
Judging by naivete exhibited in the remarks above, I wouldn't hold out a lot
of hope for you investing successfully for your retirement.
What's "close", oh prescient one?
The "need", as you put it, is still 18 mos away (2005) ... that will be damn
near a span of six years since the market starting falling and her college
fund lost much of its value. She is still invested and, while the value is
trending up, she may or may not realize the initial investment when the time
Only a pompous ASS would jump to such an erroneous conclusion.
You just keep validating the above with every ill informed conjecture.
George, the FACT is that, even were you qualified, you have absolutely NO
idea of what the situation is/was and, as a result, you are inarguably, and
patently, talking through your ass.
... nuff said.
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