Don’t blame the man who didn’t create the problem

A March 8 letter writer claimed many things as facts. So we are clear, here are the facts:

Members of Congress do pay into – and their contributions are mandatory – a federal retirement fund. They do not continue to draw full salaries upon retirement. Amounts are contingent upon length of service, when they joined Congress, age at retirement and more. It can never exceed 80 percent of their salary at time of retirement.

For example: In 2007, members of Congress averaged $63,696 under the old CSRS (congressional) system. But under the new Federal Employees Retirement System they average half that. What they earn on the side, etc., is not part of this. Same thing applies to the speaker of the House.

As for the president, we have George W. Bush to thank for doubling the salary of that office – $200,000 to $400,000. The president’s retirement salary is based on current Cabinet members’ salaries. Ex-presidents still get security, travel and all of that, but that wasn’t Obama’s doing; it’s the way it works.

So please, we can state opinions but could we use real facts to base them on?

I agree that teachers and the military deserve more pay and that salaries in Washington are too high. But stop putting it all on the shoulders of one man who didn’t create the problem.

Members of Congress deserve the credit for putting themselves before everyone else, including teachers and military personnel.

Cris South