Congress’ socialist retirement plan exempted from budget cuts

So Congress finally took a stab at cutting back their luxurious socialist paid-for-by-you-and-me pension plan that’s nearly double the best pension plan in the private sector.

But there’s a catch.  They exempted current and past members of Congress from the cuts – it only applies to the new guys.

Funny, but I don’t recall the sequester, or the proposed cuts to Medicare and Social Security, only applying to people not born yet.

Chris and I have written before about Congress’ socialist health care plan, where the taxpayer pays far more of a subsidy than most workers can ever hope of getting.  And now, thanks to Paul O’Donnell at CNBC, we learn the intimate deals of Congress’ cushy socialist retirement plan that blows yours out of the water.

Basically, for every dollar put into private pensions, normal retirees get around $1.54 back.

But for every dollar put into congressional and executive branch pensions, government retirees get $2.86 back.

And as I mentioned, Congress already has a wonderful socialist health care plan that you’d be lucky to get even close to.  During the health care reform debate, I had a health care expert run some imaginary numbers on what kind of congressional health insurance Comrade Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is able to get because he’s in Congress:

Ok, so it’s probably best to compare family plans, as that’s the number quoted in the video, and Grassley has/had a family.


Here is the info on the FEHBP plan Grassley got until he was 65:

(We’re using Blue Cross because it’s standard and what most people end up buying)

On the last page, you can see the rates. $356.59 per month for the entire family. The benefits are great (see page before the prices, standard benefits, summery of benefits):

$20 co-pay, $200 for any hospital stay of any length, $0 for outpatient services, all subject to a $300 deductible, so you only pay max $300 per visit. Dental included. Annual limit is $5,000.

Typical Iowa Family

Compare that to a typical plan for a typical Iowan age 64 with a wife and a kid from

I’m using the bestseller, benefits pasted below.

Monthly costs are $541.23. Deductible is $15,000 ($5,000 per person). You still pay 20% of costs even after the deductible is reached. Annual limit is $21,000.

So, let’s take a scenario. Chuck Grassley, the Senator, gets indigestion but thinks it’s a heart attack and goes to the emergency room. The most he pays for that is $300.

John Doe the Iowan has the same problem. He could be stuck paying $5,000, more if the full bill is higher (he pays 20% of all charges over that).

And actually, as we saw the other day, that trip to the emergency room for indigestion could cost more like $21,000.  But not for Tovarisch Grassley!

So while Congress debates just how much to gut your retirement and your health care and your benderal benefits, they’re not touching theirs one lick.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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17 Responses to “Congress’ socialist retirement plan exempted from budget cuts”

  1. perljammer says:

    The company I worked at for 24 years had a defined benefits pension planned that worked like this: the employee contributes 4% of his gross to the plan. Upon retirement, he receives an annual benefit equal to 60% of his total contributions. So if the employee’s average salary over a 30-year span of employment is $50,000, the annual benefit would be 0.6 x 0.04 x 50,000 x 30, which works out to $36,000/year, or $3000/month, with no health benefit. And that’s a pretty generous plan for non-union private sector.

    Compare that to an acquaintance of mine who works for LA Department of Water and Power. He’s about to retire at age 55, with an annual benefit of $150,000. No contributions to his retirement plan came out of his paycheck.

  2. Peter D says:

    No retirement health benefits

  3. Peter D says:

    For comparison, my wife gets about $3500 for 11.5 years of teaching in a public school. But we’er not complaining – some retired people have just SS.

  4. Jack says:

    Dental included, with a $5000 annual maximum. What couldn’t we all do with such a dental plan?

  5. arcadesproject says:

    If info like this were broadcast widely, the resulting disobedience would be far from civil.

  6. perljammer says:

    Defined benefit pensions have all but disappeared in the private sector. When they were more commonplace, an employee usually was required to reach a minimum age (generally 62) and a minimum length of employment (usually more than 20 years) to receive a full pension benefit. People retiring at lower ages and/or with shorter lengths of employment could still receive a benefit, but at a rather draconian reduction.

    The average length of service of congresscritters for the current Congress is about 11.5 years for Reps and 12.6 years for Senators. It is unconscionable that anyone should receive more than a mere token pension (if anything) for such a short term.

  7. Bill_Perdue says:

    I’d never heard that. Thanks.

  8. Sweetie says:

    “It is clear we must enter an era of austerity; to reduce the deficit through shared sacrifice.” — Nancy Pelosi, 2010

  9. Sweetie says:

    The original game was called “The Landlord’s Game” or something similar (there were a variety of versions). The title clearly implies that the game is designed to benefit the landlord, not the tenant.

    Anti-Monopoly’s co-creator claims his game is more fun to play than Monopoly because computer probability modeling was used to equalize the potential outcomes.

  10. Sweetie says:

    Did you know that the Monopoly game was originally designed to teach people about the exploitation of the poor by monopolist renters? It was based off of an economic theory that no one should be able to own land, only lease it—and that no one should be able to monopolize.

    Parker Bros. bought off its creator for $500 and then created a fake story about how an unemployed man during the “height of the Great Depression” pulled himself up by his bootstraps to create the Monopoly game.

    An economics professor, not happy with the anti-social “greed is great” message of the game created an alternative called Anti-Monopoly, and had to go to the Supreme Court because courts first said Monopoly is too generic a name to trademark and then overturned that ruling.

  11. cole3244 says:

    you would think that some voters would question why the gop would rail against govt socialized entitlements while at the same time participating in those programs, never underestimate the stupidity of the american electorate,

  12. douglas01 says:

    This kind of information needs to be made much more public, how do we get the info out. The general public would be outraged if they were aware of this kind of abuse.

  13. Ford Prefect says:

    Additionally, when Alan Grayson wrote a tepid letter to the White House politely asking SS not be cut, a whopping 28 congressional Dems signed it. Twenty-friggin’-eight. But they got theirs, so it’s all good, amiright?

  14. SkippyFlipjack says:

    The topic is congressional pensions; why all the information about their health insurance?

  15. Rabblerouzzer says:

    Expect shared sacrifice from those in power? I know you’re not that naive. “Shared sacrifice” in Congress is just their super-secret code for “screw the 99%.” Always has, probably always will. If they want “entitlement reform” they should leave Social Security alone, as we paid into it all our working lives, so it is not an entitlement. If they were serious about entitlement reform, they would start with the lifetime full salary received by members of Congress after they leave office. That, in my mind, is the definition of “entitlement,” because no retirement plan anywhere else is that generous. I know cops who spent 40 years putting their lives in danger in service to the public, and at most, their retirement pay is 60-70% of their ending salary. If Congress is so serious about the deficit and needing to make across the board cuts to programs for the neediest among us, even though Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit, let them start with cuts to their own benefits. But we all know this has nothing to do with the solvency of SS. It has everything to do with the generations-long wet dream of obliterating anything remaining of the New Deal, even though it’s one of the most successful, and popular government programs ever enacted.

  16. nicho says:

    $0 for outpatient services, all subject to a $300 deductible, so you only pay max $300 per visit.

    I think that’s an annual deductible — not per visit.

  17. Bill_Perdue says:

    The problem isn’t just Congress, it goes much deeper than that. The government is infested with criminals in the pay of the looter class. “Rich people who go to Congress, though, keep getting richer while they’re there. The wealthiest one-third of lawmakers were largely immune from the Great Recession, taking the fewest financial hits and watching their investments quickly recover and rise to new heights.

    The rich are criminals, that’s how they and their families got rich. For working people and small farmers It’s not “our” nation. It never really was. The Constitution is a deeply flawed document skewed towards further enriching the upper classes and insuring that they’ll stay wealthy. The Constitution enshrines private property. The Bill of Rights did nothing to prevent the rise of a new aristocracy. In fact the Bill of Rights has been under attack since ratification and is now in shreds, tattered and gutted.

    Here’s the real socialist program for dealing with the rich: We want a 100% tax on personal income over $250,000.00 a year and a 100% tax on estates over that amount. We want to make it a criminal offense, with robust penalties, to conspire to make the looter rich richer with tax breaks, handouts and bailouts for the looter rich. We also want to criminalize offshore asset hiding by confiscating those assets. If a rich person emigrates to avoid taxes their entire wealth should be confiscated.

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