Las Vegas Sun

April 18, 2015

Currently: 67° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Letter to the editor:

Treat officials like the rest of us

Another view?

View more of the Las Vegas Sun's opinion section:

Editorials - the Sun's viewpoint.

Columnists - local and syndicated writers.

Letters to the editor - readers' views.

Have your own opinion? Write a letter to the editor.

Currently, most, if not all, government employees do not participate in the Social Security system. The president could do a lot of good by allowing all government employees, including elected officials, to participate in the system of which the rest of us are forced to be a part.

Another measure that would help is to make all income subject to withholding.

I am against any form of income tax, but we are in desperate times. The time for dillydallying is way past; we need action now. Unemployment is dragging our nation into bankruptcy. To do nothing, including trying to fix the income tax, is criminal.

Make our elected officials use the same retirement and health care the rest of us use and see how long they wait to change the system for the better.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 19 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Since 1986, all of Congress and Federal civilian employees come under Social Security. It's mandatory.

    Carmine D

  2. Carmine is right except I think it was 1984. Congressmen, Supreme Court Justices, the President and Vice President, and Cabinet Secretaries were also included.

  3. Hello Jim et all:

    As I recall, the FERS [Federal Employees Retirement System] Law was passed in 1984. However, it took 2 years to fully implement. It was a huge effort due to the vast changes in financial, administrative and accounting procedures and systems. During the 2 year transition period, past, present and future government employees [including Congress] had some options: Stay in the existing system CSRS [Civil Service Retirement System]; and/or elect the new FERS; and/or a hybrid system of both. Once all the systems were go, employees had to make a permanent election with catch ups and conversions from the transition. A lot of errors were made, as you can imagine. But for the most part FERS was pronounced both then and now as a huge success.

    Carmine D

  4. So, what Weber & Carmine are saying is our elected officials are "double-dipping?" Collecting fat pensions while, at the same time, receiving Social Security benefits? There should be no pensions for elected officials - period. It's supposed to be a "citizen" legislature - ergo, no need for a pension - period. Serve 8 years or so and then go back to the private sector was the original intent if we use George Washington as the prime example. But the creepolas in Washington have long ignored that honored tradition in favor of gaining personal power and wealth and that goes for all sides of the aisles. It took the hubris of FDR to make the Congress act. Thank God, Nevadans were intelligent enough to impose restrictions on the slugs that walk the halls of power. Term limits are desperately needed on the federal level, too. Won't happen with the likes of Harry Reid and John Boehner in charge. They like it just the way it is. American's need to exact a promise from potential opponents to enact term limits. That's the only way we'll ever change the system and its corruptive influence on Senators and Congressmen.

  5. Mr. Gartner: Unemployment is dragging our nation to bankruptcy?

    Where have you been? And I would ask you, since we can not raise txes on corporations and the rich - the so called Job Creators - Where are the jobs???? The GOP is holding Congress hostage.

  6. I was not aware that federal employees were contributing to social security, as what's just been pointed out.

    Now if we can get the same federal employees involved in 401K or IRA plans just like the rest of the country's worker's.Everyone will feel we are on equal footing. Military personnel should stay on their current retirement program.

    The letter writer is full of baloney across-the-board. What this country needs is a good strong national pension system. There is a word for people who to try to fund their retirement with Iras and 401(k)s. BROKE!!! Half the elderly are dying penniless and two thirds of the people in this country can not come up with a grand for contingencies.

    According to the healthcare industry the only families in this country that are saving substantial amounts of money are families with incomes in excess of $250,000 a year. There aren't that many of those.

    Having a system in place where people are supposed to fund their own retirements is like telling fat people to eat less. A waste of time!

    There are about 25,000 defined-benefit pension plans left in the United States. This is down from 112,000 in 1985. Those folks are for the most part the only people in this country that are going to have a dignified retirement.

  8. "So, what Weber & Carmine are saying is our elected officials are "double-dipping?" Collecting fat pensions while, at the same time, receiving Social Security benefits?"

    Now I didn't say that at all, Jerry. As a FERS employee, the retiree is eligible for Social Security, period. As FERS is constructed it has 3 parts: Social Security; Thrift Savings Account (TSP) and a FERS amount.

    The largest of the 3 for most is the TSP which is a portable self-managed IRA/401 K, with a matching component. Social Security is the next, then FERS. Obviously the retiree has to meet all the requirements for Social Security to be eligible for a FERS retirement payout.

    The double dipping, which FERS eliminated, was part of the old CSRS (Civil Service Retirement System). To be eligible for both [CSRS and SS] you had to meet the requirements of both systems. In other words eligible for a CSRS retirement payout AND have had paid fully into Social Security to receive a SS payout. Some, like me, did. A result of my age and work experience. I had credible employment under both systems and paid fully into both. But there is a catch called the public pension offset. The public pension offset was instituted as part of FERS. It says if you receive a Federal pension, other than FERS, and are eligible for Social Security, the Social Security retirement amount will be taxed and offset based on the amount of the government pension pay out.

    FWIW, I only collect my government pension not SS. It's my monetary gift to my country's treasury.
    Carmine D

  9. ByZippert1,

    "Their's one word for people who try to fund their own retirement with IRA's,401k's, broke!!!"

    I don't know where you are getting your information from.I have had a 401k now converted to a IRA for 25 plus years.It provides me with a decent retirement income.I did lose some with the market downturn in 2008.But I'm still ahead of the game.

    Mr. Pizzo.. My information comes from the statistical data that's been published over the last several decades. There is a huge difference between having money in a retirement account and being able to fund a retirement with it.

    Tax-deferred accounts provide people with a way to save, invest and have supplemental income at retirement. The problem is millions are draining those accounts long before retirement to meet contingencies.

    in 1980 75% of retirees got a pension check every month. Today it's closer to 20%. Well over a third of Americans rely on a $1200 month Social Security check as their sole source of income. Many more rely on Social Security as a primary source of income. I have never seen a report that reflects anyone is saving enough money to live just on Ira or 401(k) after retirement. If you have seen such a report I would love to see it. Please post it.

    People in this survey state they will need $300,000 to retire yet the only have $25,000 saved. In addition they estimate $47,000 in out-of-pocket medical costs when in reality it will be much closer to $300,000.

    Millions say they will have to work until age 80. The problem is if you look at the statistical data there is no one working in the world at age 70. Most get kicked to the curb by employers at about age 62. It's a gigantic mess.

    The Germans understood this in the 1800s and set up a national pension system in the 1860s. Many countries have followed. Median family income over age 70 is close to the income of kids coming out of high school. There the poorest people in the country. It's absolutely pathetic. Retirement accounts aren't going to solve this issue.

    There is no substitute for a good pension.

  12. BYZippert1,

    I never said I had a report.What I did say is I have had my 401K rolled over into a IRA. I have had this acct. for more thaan 25 plus years.I'm living decent in my retirement.It's hard to believe that anyone who has had a 401K or IRA for any length of time is having money problems.

    Mr. Pizzo... Millions of plan participants are falling flat on their face.

    To the above commentor recommending people buy gold. It has been one of the worst investments of the last hundred years. It has no substantive purpose and doesn't pay a dividend.

    A buck invested in the stock market in the late 1800s is worth $28,000 today. Much of that dividends. Good dividend paying stocks and income-producing real estate are what young people should be concentrating on today.

    the gold advocate needs to read number one.

    In terms of the unemployment rate pushing us into bankruptcy. Historically unemployment has averaged around 5%. It is now about three points higher than that. While annoying for those unemployed it's not pushing us into bankruptcy.

    On the other hand the $250 billion a month in medical bills Americans are generating is causing a lot of headaches. A lot more than the elevated unemployment rate.

  15. "Greedy republicans stole everything from our

    Not everything, Teamster. Last I checked there were as many wealthy Democrats in Congress as Republicans. Maybe more.

    Carmine D

  16. NPG: WRONG. Federal employees pay SS contributions. Military still doesn't. State employees don't--let's change that. City, County, SD employees don't pay SS AND don't pay into PERS--we the taxpayers cover it all.

  17. Military SHOULD transition into SS coverage--would allow Veterans to get disabilities, SSI, SSDI. AND Vets would sooner (thus more) get "full" retirement qualifications--the 40 quarters of contributions (increasing # of quarters based on date of birth) to get benefits at age 62, 66 or older.

  18. Military employees have the TSP: Thrift Savings Plan. As I posted above, the TSP is one of the 3 components of FERS [Federal Employees Retirement System].

    Future government employees will likely have to pay higher amounts from their pay for the FERS benefit of their retirement. It won't effect current and past federal employees under FERS but will future ones.

    Carmine D

  19. Teamster:

    If it weren't for unions women and children would still be working in sweat factories and men dying in coal mines.

    But democrats and republicans alike both passed and enforced laws to prevent it.

    Carmine D