Change Congress' benefits

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You read it in newspapers and magazines, you hear it on television, columnists write about it and our lawmakers rant about it.

What is it? All the money going out in entitlements – and then they cite Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in the same category as food stamps, rent subsidies, free cell phones and other “benefits” the government supplies and we taxpayers finance.

I am 80 years old and have worked from the age of 17 until I retired in 1995. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are my entitlements because I paid into them through the taxes my government imposed on my wages during the time of my employment. During that time, I never benefited from food stamps or rent subsidies, but my payroll taxes paid for them.

It is about time to require retiring members of Congress to go on Social Security like all the people who put them in office. Also, put them on regular federal retirement plans and require them to buy into the same health plans we have.

How dare they pass a law that would affect the entire population and generations to come without knowing what it will do, how it will affect the current health systems or cost. But then, to ensure they keep their current free health plan, they get themselves a presidential exemption. This is the same governing body that votes its own pay raises because it can.

Now a few lawmakers are waking up, and I hope a large number of voters remind them in the next election who really runs this republic.

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southern2
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southern2 11/06/13 - 08:33 am
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I agree with Mr. Slechta and

I agree with Mr. Slechta and am tired of those who have contributed a lifetime of forced financial contributions being viewed as a reason our country is in unsustainable debt.

Whenever our friends, the Republicans, present a balanced budget proposal it always includes cuts to Social Security and Medicare and never any cuts to the Welfare Class even though they are all called "Entitlements". I place the Congressional benefits scheme at the top of the list for future budget cuts. What a scam and what an insult to all hard working Americans.

deestafford
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deestafford 11/06/13 - 08:55 am
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I totally agree with the letter writer; however, I disagree with

southern2's comment. The Republicans when they talk about changing SS and other programs people paid into (which are the only ones I would consider "entitlements" others are handouts) they are not talking about cutting the programs, but changing them for those say 45 years old and younger by giving them options on how they can control their own retirement money. What's wrong with that?

The mantra from the left is the Republicans don't care about people. The opposite is true. They want people who are able to learn, accept, and have pride in taking individual responsibility for themselves and their family as Mr. Slechta has all of his life. How can one show pride in living off the government for their entire lives as we have so many doing today? Conservatives believe in a hand up and not a hand out or a hammock rather than a safety net. Help those who can't help themselves and let the ones who can help themselves sink or swim.

As far as Congress and its benefits go---asking them to change is like asking an alcoholic to give up his key which grants him free, unfettered access to the liquor store. He ain't gonna do it.

Gary Ross
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Gary Ross 11/06/13 - 09:22 am
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"The government needs to pay it's bills"

Everyone remembers that quote, and I agree with it. The problem is, the definition of the term "bills". More and more the definitions of certain terms are getting cloudy, like the term "Entitlements". Welfare, food stamps, rent substities, etc, are NOT entitlements, and the certainly are not civil rights. We workers paid for SS and Medicare without choice, so they are entitlements. We are entitled to them. Sending large amounts of money to other countries in the form of forign aid, are not bills. We need to get this straight. Charitable contributions are made AFTER the bills are paid.

jimmymac
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jimmymac 11/06/13 - 09:27 am
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entitlements

Unpublished

Social security is not an entitlement. It's been paid for by the workers through forced payroll deductions. People who've never worked a day in their life receiving SS are getting entitlements. The government has ransacked the SS trust for years and that's why it's having funding problems for future recipients. Yes congress should be on SS and live with the results of their actions. However republican and democratic members will never give up the Cadillac plans they've created for themselves. Vote them all out and make them be one of the serfs again instead of acting like royalty.

southern2
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southern2 11/06/13 - 10:34 am
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Dee...believe me I realize

Dee...believe me I realize the system is broken and should be modified but not on the backs of those who have already contributed but on the moocher class which includes the members of Congress and their staff.

The last Republican "Entitlement" (another word that has become tainted because is also used when describing welfare) proposal was a game changer for those 55 and younger which included a close relative who would have been 54 and 11 months on the date of change. They would have been robbed of the S/S of which they had paid into since age 15 and placed under a "Who knows what" plan. That's 40 years of political thievery and is unacceptable in my eyes no matter which party introduces the idea.

deestafford
18263
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deestafford 11/06/13 - 10:43 am
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Southern. Sorry, I semi-misread the second paragraph of your

first post. I think perhaps the best thing may be to give the option to those of a certain age of continuing on with the current system or going under a revised system such as the one Galveston, TX employees are on which is similar to what Chile has for its people. Some folks just don't want to handle their own retirement program and would prefer the government to do it for them.

The thing is whatever changes we make will take decades of transitioning to clear everyone out of the current system. Just think if it had been done 30 years ago we would pretty much have a revised system in place. Hopefully, we will get folks in Congress who want to fix the system and do what's right for the country rather than voters who will keep them in office...mainly the moochers.

raul
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raul 11/06/13 - 06:41 pm
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Take a few minutes and read

Take a few minutes and read about the Congressional retirement system. I see spam all the time providing erroneous information about congressional retirement benefits. Albeit, my source is wikipedia, the information contained within is accurate.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congressional_pension. Most current members of congress are covered by social security. In January 2014 members of congress will have to chose insurance from the health exchanges. They will, however, be able to continue to receive"subsidies" whereby the employer, the Federal government, will continue to pay for part (approx 75%) of their health care premium as is done for other federal employees and retirees.

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