By Daniel J. Perin
We have all heard the saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. No one likes to find out they have been fooled, but twice? That’s even worse. I am also sure that everyone who has an email account or a Facebook account has seen, more than once, the information that states the outrageous retirement payments members of Congress get even if they only serve one term.
Time to fess up. I have been hornswoggled by the same emails and Facebook accounts and I have dutifully copied and forwarded or “shared” them on Facebook. Darn, I hate to be so wrong!
PolitiFact, (http://www.politifact.com/ohio/statements/2013/jan/11/chain-email/can-members-congress-retire-full-pay-after-just-on/) in this morning’s Oregonian finally made an attempt to set the record straight. They have tried before giving the retirement information for Congress a “Pants on Fire” rating. This misinformation has been around at least a decade, denounced as false by Snopes.com, and yet it lingers on. Personally, I think it is accepted as fact because most of us are totally fed up with the obstructionist, do nothing Congress we have had for at least the last four years. Whatever the reason, it is time to get the facts straight.
FACT 1 – No member of Congress is eligible for any pension until they have served for five years. (Senators serve six-year terms, while Representatives serve two-year terms.)
FACT 2 – To collect, a Congressman or Senator must be age 62, or be at least 50 with 20 years of service, or be any age with 25 years of service.
FACT 3 – According to the most recent pension program adopted in 1984, the size of a pension is based on the highest three years of a member’s salary, the number of years of service and a multiplier, which is 1.7 percent for the first 20 years of service and 1.0 percent for subsequent years.
PolitiFact goes on to show various calculations which I won’t repeat here, but the FACT is all this garbage about outlandish retirement programs Congressional members get is just plain WRONG.
We (I am) are reminded again: If it is so outlandish it MUST be true, it probably IS NOT! Always check Snopes.com or another Internet hoax site BEFORE forwarding the “hot news.”