Take Your Medicine

A lot of what is sent around in the Internet blogosphere is nonsense. But I just got one e-mail that really appealed to me.

You may have seen it. The headline read: “Get a bill started to place all politicians on Social Security (search).”

Like most of what’s on the Internet, not all of the details are accurate, but the basic point is: politicians rarely take their own medicine. Such is the case with Social Security.

While politicians do have to pay into Social Security taxes, they didn’t even have to do that until 1984. But they certainly don’t have to rely on Social Security when they retire. They have a sweetheart pension plan, much of it shouldered by taxpayers. After only five years of public service, politicians are eligible for hefty paychecks when they retire.

Roll Call Report Syndicate and the National Taxpayers Union have provided some examples:

Former Rep. Bob Livingstone of Louisiana is receiving $78,207 a year

Former Sen. Dale Bumpers of Arkansas is getting $82,060 a year

Former Reps. Louis Stokes of Ohio, Joseph McDade of Pennsylvania, Sidney Yates of Illinois and Henry Gonzalez of Texas are getting $98,694 in annual pensions

Forcing politicians to live off of Social Security benefits would undoubtedly hasten Social Security reform. But it’s not a campaign issue we’re likely to hear coming from many politicians inside the Beltway.

And that’s the Observer.

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