Letters to the Editor

April 18, 2013

Reform government pensions first

Government pension reform should come first.

In 1969, during the Johnson administration, the Social Security Trust Fund was included in the overall budget and called the unified budget for the first time. Later, under the George H.W. Bush administration, the trust fund was changed back to an off-budget item. So during these 21 years Congress and the executive branch spent much of the Social Security fund, with a plan to tax later and bring the money back to the trust fund. During that time the trust fund lost earning power and is a reason why the trust fund will run out of money by 2024. So it enrages me when our leaders want to change the Social Security system (private sector entitlement) by increasing the age or changing the annual index for increases.

These congressional leaders should show leadership and be the first to cut their government pensions along with government employee pensions, as they are more lucrative than Social Security. If they believe in equality and fairness, why shouldn't government pensions match the pay out of Social Security recipients and be reformed first?



Editor's note: According to "A Glossary of Political Economy Terms" by Paul M. Johnson, Department of Political Science, Auburn University, an entitlement program is defined as: "The kind of government program that provides individuals with personal financial benefits (or sometimes special government-provided goods or services) to which an indefinite (but usually rather large) number of potential beneficiaries have a legal right (enforceable in court, if necessary) whenever they meet eligibility conditions that are specified by the standing law that authorizes the program. The beneficiaries of entitlement programs are normally individual citizens or residents, but sometimes organizations such as business corporations, local governments, or even political parties may have similar special 'entitlements' under certain programs. The most important examples of entitlement programs at the federal level in the United States would include Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, most Veterans' Administration programs, federal employee and military retirement plans, unemployment compensation, food stamps, and agricultural price support programs."

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