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I'm not sure if this is true or not, but I found this so interesting that I had to hold onto it.  I've recently been informed of a website that counters this.  If anyone has more information that confirms or debunks this, please let me know.

The Golden Fleece

Our Senators and Congressmen do not pay into Social Security, and, of course, therefore they do not collect from it.  Social Security benefits were not suitable for persons of their rare elevation in society. They felt they should have a special plan for themselves. Many years ago they voted in their benefit plan. In more recent years, no congress person has felt the need to change it. After all, it is a great plan. For all practical purposes their plan works like this.

When they retire, they continue to draw their same pay until they die, except it may be increased from time to time by the cost of living adjustments. For example, former Senator Bradley, and his wife, may be expected to draw $7,900,000.00, with Mrs. Bradley drawing $275,000.00 during the last year of her life. This is calculated on an average life span for each.

Their cost for this excellent plan is $0, nada, zilch. This little perk  they voted in for themselves is free to them. You and I pick up the tab for this plan. This fine retirement plan is funded directly from the General Fund of the U. S. Treasury. Our tax dollars at work! Social Security, which you and I pay into every payday for our own retirement, with an equal amount matched by our employer, we can expect to get an average of $1,000.00 per month from our Social Security plan. Or, we would have to collect our benefits for 681 years and 1 month to equal the Bradley's benefits.

Imagine for a moment that you could structure a retirement plan so  desirable that people would have extra amounts deducted from their pay to enhance their own personal retirement income. A retirement plan that worked so well, that Railroad Employees, Postal Workers, and others who were not in the plan would clamor to be included.   This is how good Social Security could be, if only one small change were made. That change would be to jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan out from under the Senators and Congressmen. Put them into the Social Security plan with the rest of us. Then watch how fast they would fix it!

The Truth

Congressional pensions are controversial and many believe they should be reformed, but this email has several inaccuracies.  First, it is not true that members of congress don't pay into Social Security.  It's been required of them since 1983, according to Andrew G. Biggs, Social Security Analyst for the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C..  Additionally, Biggs says Congress does have its own retirement plan which does pay a generous pension to retired members of congress plus they are eligible for the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a 401k-type investment program available to all federal employees.  Depending on a person's length of service, it is possible to retire with annual income that is equivalent to a Congressional salary, but no member of Congress automatically retires with his or her salary being paid as pension. was unable to find the source for the alleged Bill Bradley retirement calculations.

Additional Information from readers:

Brian Aragon wrote:

You might want to check out this link, too…

and this…

There is a lot of info about government related stuff on
the 2nd link.  Hope all this helps.

This came from Mildred Crothers of Lansing, MI

March 10, 2005

Mildred Crothers
Lansing, MI  48911

Thank you . . .

. . for contacting me about your concern that Members of
Congress do not pay Social Security.

This is an internet hoax that has been going around for several
years and is not true. I assure you that I pay Social Security, along
with all my colleagues, just like all other workers in America. The
only people who do not pay Social Security are some State and
municipal employees. It is very important to me that Social
Security is available for all of us when we retire.

Members of Congress are covered by the same retirement plans as
all other federal employees. When Members of Congress retire,
resign or are not reelected, they no longer receive a salary.
However, if they are eligible because of age and years of service,
they may receive a retirement annuity just like all other federal

Thank you for taking the time to share your views with me. I am
glad I had the chance to clear up any confusion this hoax may have
caused. As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if I
can be of further assistance.

Debbie Stabenow
United States Senator

© Chad Lupkes, except as noted. I don't see the point of copyrighting my work yet, but if you'd like to use anything on my site, please let me know.