Skip to comments.Congressional Pensions a Bonanza
Posted on 01/06/2005 7:12:52 PM PST by wagglebee
Thanks to a generous pension system, life after Congress can be a lot more lucrative: that's the conclusion of a study released today by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF), a research group known for its detailed estimates on Congressional retirement benefits.
A total of 38 former Senators and Representatives from the 108th Congress qualify for taxpayer-funded pensions, with former Senator Tom Daschle, D-S.D., leading the pack at a projected $5 million lifetime payout.
"Even as most Americans face high taxes and other roadblocks to their own retirement, Members of Congress have paved a smooth path for their golden years," said NTUF President John Berthoud. "Too bad taxpayers are supplying most of the gold."
According to the study -- whose results were reported today in an Associated Press story -- 38 former House and Senate Members from the 108th Congress amassed sufficient service to qualify for a pension. Among the highlights:
-- Defeated South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle (D) is eligible for a pension of $121,233 this year, the highest amount among any studied. Assuming Daschle lives to the actuarially-projected age of 82.1 years and receives a 4 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) annually, his total lifetime pension amount could reach $5.077 million. Also high on the list was former House Member and Presidential hopeful Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), with a 2005 pension of $102,330 and a projected lifetime payout of $3.091 million.
-- Three long-serving ex-lawmakers, Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.), and Rep. Phil Crane (R-Ill.), each qualify for a $114,102 pension in 2005. Among these three, however, Breaux would statistically be the likeliest to receive the largest total payment over the course of his life ($4.074 million).
-- Even Members of Congress with shorter tenures can look forward to significant pension packages. For example, former Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.), with 12 years of service, could collect as much as $1.011 million over her lifetime, while Chris John (D- La.), Nick Lampson (D-Texas.), and Max Sandlin (D-Texas.) could eventually receive over $500,000 apiece for serving eight years in the House.
-- Although lawmakers elected in 1984 and thereafter tend to be covered by a pension plan that is less generous than the one offered to their senior colleagues, they can make up for much of this difference due to a taxpayer-funded "match" of salary contributions in a "Thrift Savings Plan" that functions much like a private-sector 401(k) arrangement. By taking maximum advantage of this plan and its investment options, a lawmaker elected in 1990 could retire this year with Thrift Plan assets of more than $248,000.
Members of Congress are covered under the two major retirement systems that include most federal employees, but lawmakers enjoy better pension formulas and eligibility rules than rank-and-file workers (participation is voluntary).
In addition, Congressional pensions are two to three times more generous than those offered to similarly-paid executives in the private sector; one reason is a yearly COLA that few businesses offer. Individual pension amounts for Members of Congress are not a matter of public record. However, NTUF utilizes data on lawmakers' service, eligibility, and life expectancies to provide the most accurate calculations of pensions possible.
What Congress does for itself is absurd.
Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.), with 12 years of service, could collect as much as $1.011 million over her lifetime
Gee 12 years nets her $1 million plus!
What did my 12 years in the Marine Corps get me? Besides a bunch of holes and other misc? A WARRIOR's pride!
Let the bitch keep her million!
I can dream.
Considering the amount of harm, loss and damage they could otherwise cause (not that they do not cause it already, but they could have caused even more) one should look at it as protection money. I'd say we are off cheaply.
A one-term limit of 5 or 6 years, that is.
Yep. Absoutely correct.
We need term limits big time. After 2 terms in the house and 1 term in the senate most have outlived their usefulness and turned into redundant turds!!
Of course, Daschle was also able to get his wife several million dollars in lobbying fees by bailing out the airlines.