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Pensions of Senators Crying Foul over Salaries

Douglas Kellogg
January 26, 2013

In a turn of fate, just after raising taxes permanently on those they determined could afford it, some senators are complaining that the "no budget no pay" bill being considered on Capitol Hill would cause them undue hardship. That, despite the fact they make $174,000 per year, or $280,000 when benefits are included (according to an Our Generation and Taxpayers Protection Alliance report), and they have some well funded pensions coming.

Among those mentioned in The Hill bemoaning their lack of millions were Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

"“We’re not all millionaires,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) told The Hill. “When I splurge, it’s on a Ravens t-shirt.”

"“As much as I love my job and my constituents, I have bills to pay,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
"“As a non-millionaire senator, I am certainly in a different spot that someone who is independently wealthy,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said."
First of all, it sounds like Barbara Mikulski needs to get a better deal on her Ravens t-shirts.

Should she retire at the end of her term, Mikulski would take home $139,000 per year in pension and whatever she's put into her 401k-style plan. In the most straightforward scenario for Stabenow, her pension would be $62,000 to start (assuming no spousal benefit from her prior marriage), subject to future COLAs. [UPDATE] Murkowski currently would be eligible for $37,000 in pension at age 62.

Whatever happened to public service? It unfortunately sounds like these senators have lost sight of the fact it is not the people's duty to serve them, but the other way around. With the median household income just over $50,000, Americans might have little sympathy for Senators' angst over being asked to do their jobs before they get paid - one luxury, among many, taxpayers and the public do not share with these Senators.

(all numbers according to NTU research, contact with any questions.)


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