2018-04-19 15:45:10 UTC
House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that he will retire at the end of his term in
January, giving up his prominent position and salary of $223,500 a year. But
that doesn't mean the 48-year-old will have to start pinching pennies.
When he turns 50, he's likely entitled to a pension plan that Vanity Fair
describes as "a golden parachute." If he is enrolled in the program offered to
Congress members, the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), he could
receive $84,930 a year, assuming he sticks it out through January.
For most of America, by contrast, pension plans are only a memory: In total,
only 23 percent of workers have one now, according to the most recent analysis
from the Pension Rights Center, while in 2016 "pension benefits provided income
to nearly one third of older adults."
Some have pointed out that Ryan will potentially benefit from the kind of
taxpayer-funded programs he has made efforts to do away with.
"Paul Ryan now enjoys the peace of mind that when he turns 50 in less than two
years he will enjoy a defined-benefits pension of about $79K annually for the
rest of his life, funded by the same taxpayers whose Social Security he's been
trying to cut or privatize his entire career," writes Politico reporter Joshua
Zeitz in a Tweet that has since gone viral.
"Addendum: Apparently he spent 4 yrs as a staff member before being elected to
Congress, so the pension is closer to $85K," Zeitz followed up, citing Business
In 2005, Ryan co-sponsored a bill to privatize Social Security, around the time
that George W. Bush announced that Social Security was "headed for bankruptcy,"
though the bill went nowhere. His legislation, "Road Map for America's Future,"
a few years later also contained privatization proposals.
Social Security allotments only come out to an average of under $16,000 a year.
A report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that most elderly
people in America rely on Social Security for the majority of their income and
two out of five would be broke without it.