Letter to the Editor: Congress Right to Prevent Windfalls

To the Editor:

I strongly disagree with Elizabeth Helms regarding the Windfall Elimination Provision. For once, Congress enacted good policy and even named it appropriately.

In 1983, Congress passed H.R. 1900. This bill’s purpose was to shore up and reform Social Security in an effort to prolong its existence.  The Windfall Elimination Provision does what it says — prevents public employees from getting a windfall from social security that they should not get and did not earn.

Many government workers, I presume like Ms. Helms, did not pay into Social Security during her 17 years of public service. She instead received a pension from the state. Later, she paid into Social Security when she found another job. During my five years in public service, I paid into Social Security because of the same reforms.

Social Security is not a “we’re all in the same boat” game — with everyone receiving checks for the same amount. It is a system based on wage replacement through a formula called the Average Indexed Monthly Earnings or AIME.

Because the system — as reformed — lowers the AIME replacement percentage for workers who didn’t always pay into Social Security, this is somehow an injustice?

It was interesting Helms invoked the unions’ victory in repealing Gov. Kasich’s reforms — since she is calling on our state legislators (even though this is a federal law) to repeal a 29 year old reform. Nearly 3 decades later, some people can’t handle reform.

Even if Ms. Helms magically convinces Congress to grant her wish, it won’t matter much since Social Security’s trust fund runs out in 23 years.

Jim Swift

Alexandria, Virginia

Readers, you can learn more about the WEP here.


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