This chain letter is wrong.

So, a good friend of mine posted this story on facebook. The author, Paul Collins, claims “Warren Buffett wants all to share this on Facebook.”

Essentially, this author posts a form letter we’ve all unfortunately gotten recently, and the facts are oh-so-wrong. (Is this a surprise?)

Here is his post:

Warren Buffett wants everyone on Facebook to share this idea, or to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise. In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around. _*Congressional Reform Act of 2011-12*_

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman/ woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they’re out of office.
2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/ women are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/ women. Congressmen/ women made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message. Don’t you think it’s time? THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS! If you agree with the above, pass it on, or share it on Facebook. If not, just go to your next news story. Please keep it going, and thanks.

Paul Collins, author of Mack Dunstan’s Inferno / Mystery of Everyman’s Way

Contact him on:http://www.facebook.com/#!/authorpaulcollins

So, I disagree with his post. And rather than “go to my next news story” I am going to respond to these points, number by number. (I think Warren Buffett made a few related points, and now everyone else is running with it and adding their own numbers. Not that I like Warren Buffett — I don’t, but I doubt he asked Paul Collins to bear his torch.)

First, Paul Collins is a Canadian. Not that it makes his post any bit less worth reading, but as far as I know, he’s not a U.S. citizen — so why does he care so much? Probably wants free publicity, so consider this some free publicity. Second, he has 651 friends on facebook — three times less than yours truly, which means he’s not a famous author or thinker since I am just an obscure individual.

My response, number by number (my responses are in bold):

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman/ woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they’re out of office.

Members of Congress pay into their pension/retirement. Tenure is what professors and often-bad public school teachers have, so it doesn’t apply. All federal employees, including members of Congress, qualify for a pension after a certain amount of time. They also get a government 401(k) that’s matched called a “Thrift Savings Plan.” 


2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

Members of Congress have been participating in Social Security since 1983. To move the retirement pay (either from TSP or pensions) to Social Security wouldn’t make an actuarial dent in this insolvent fund. What’s worse is that doing that and requiring past members of Congress to pay into the system for those years would be an unconstitutional ex post facto law.


3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

They already do this and are no different than any typical federal employee. Guess we can cross this one off the list.


4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

Congress historically hasn’t voted itself pay raises. The author is unfamiliar with this procedure. In fact, the truth is worse: the  pay raise is automatic unless Congress votes otherwise. This practice has only come under scrutiny lately.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

What is “the same health care system as the American people?” Members of Congress participate in the FEHBP — which all federal employees enjoy. There is no same “healthcare system as the American people.” It varies wildly by state and profession. Under President Obama’s health-care law, members of Congress and their staff join the “exchanges” in 2014.


6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

Constitutionally, with a few exceptions, this is true. 


7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/ women are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/ women. Congressmen/ women made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

Their terms are always void when their term expires, but you can’t say that contracts are null and void for past Congressmen. This is also likely an unconstitutional ex post facto law.

Facebook Comments

comments

2 Thoughts on “This chain letter is wrong.

  1. Walter E. Pack on April 29, 2012 at 9:12 pm said:

    Jim, I always said that you are a sharp smart guy. Your talents would be wasted in D.C. Your OLD friend Walt P.S. Keep up the good work

Post Navigation