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Discussion Starter #1
The more I thought about Veteran's pensions being cut the angrier I got. I decided to take a look at how much money we paid these people to come to the conclusions they did. Want to talk about government waste? How about 6,000,000,000$ + of your money going to congressional salary and pensions? Yet veterans are over paid. Here are some reports I found. Bear in mind that congress votes (and voted in) Pay raises for themselves when most of them are already millionaires.

"Congressional pay and benefits come at taxpayer expense. Congress is allowed to vote themselves pay raises. The 27th Amendment mandates pay raises do not take effect until the next Congress is sworn in. So, for a Congressperson to obtain a pay raise they have to be re-elected.


Even so, average voters look at the current economy and wonder why Congress votes themselves pay raises, while they do little or nothing to help their constituents find jobs or receive unemployment benefits.


This all begs the question: how much does the average member of Congress paid per year?

In 2010 and 2011, the average pay is $174,000. Leadership positions pay higher, with the Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader making over $210,000 a year. These salary figures come out to $95.8 million dollars for all 541 members of Congress.

There are six members of Congress who hold committee positions and can debate on the floor, but who do not have voting power. So for a Congress that doesn’t work, we’re paying out $95.8 million in salaries, and that’s before we get into benefits, perks and retirement wages.


We’ve all heard about the Congressional Health Care plan, not to mention their travel plans, security details and personal spending accounts. How much do these benefits and perks cost taxpayers in addition to the above salaries?


In Fiscal Year 2010 (Oct 1 through Sept 30 of the following year), these programs accounted for $4.66 Billion in taxpayer funds. Compared to the national budget, the total of $4.74 Billion is a drop in the bucket, but even so when someone sees these salaries they begin to wonder why members of Congress are paid so much for doing so little to help the people who pay their salaries.


These figures don’t count the retirement plans or salaries paid to former members of Congress. If a member of Congress serves for at least five years, be it in the Senate or the House of Representatives, they receive full pay and health benefits for life. The figures for this type of pay are not easily accessible, as they are muddled in with private insurance and other pay wages.


The estimates for these benefits were between $500 million and $1.2 billion. That’s a wide range, but there are people receiving pay that are not former legislatures. The wives of prominent Senators Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy receive a reduced rate of pay under the “survivor benefit” plan. They can still access the health benefits, but receive between 50 and 75 percent of their late husbands salaries.


This provides a rough estimate of $6 billion per year spent on Congressional pay and benefits.

The question we should ask ourselves is whether or not this is money well spent. "



The examiner /\
 

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For the first time in history, most members of Congress are millionaires, according to a new analysis of personal financial disclosure data by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Of 534 current members of Congress, at least 268 had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012, according to disclosures filed last year by all members of Congress and candidates. The median net worth for the 530 current lawmakers who were in Congress as of the May filing deadline was $1,008,767 -- an increase from the previous year when it was $966,000. In addition, at least one of the members elected since then, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), is a millionaire, according to forms she filed as a candidate. (There is currently one vacancy in Congress.)

Last year only 257 members, or about 48 percent of lawmakers, had a median net worth of at least $1 million.


Members of Congress have long been far wealthier than the typical American, but the fact that now a majority of members -- albeit just a hair over 50 percent -- are millionaires represents a watershed moment at a time when lawmakers are debating issues like unemployment benefits, food stamps and the minimum wage, which affect people with far fewer resources, as well as considering an overhaul of the tax code.

"Despite the fact that polls show how dissatisfied Americans are with Congress overall, there's been no change in our appetite to elect affluent politicians to represent our concerns in Washington, said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center. "Of course, it's undeniable that in our electoral system, candidates need access to wealth torun financially viable campaigns, and the most successful fundraisers are politicians who swim in those circles to begin with."


Breaking the numbers down further, congressional Democrats had a median net worth of $1.04 million, while congressional Republicans had a median net worth of almost exactly $1 million. In both cases, the figures are up from last year, when the numbers were $990,000 and $907,000, respectively.


The median net worth for all House members was $896,000 -- that's up from $856,000 in 2011 -- with House Democrats (median net worth: $929,000) holding an edge over House Republicans (median net worth: $884,000). The median net worth for both House Republicans and Democrats was higher than in 2011.


Similarly, the median net worth for all senators increased to $2.7 million from $2.5 million, but in that body it was the Republicans who were better-off. Senate Democrats reported a median net worth of $1.7 million (a decline from 2011's $2.4 million), compared to Senate Republicans, at $2.9 million (an increase from $2.5 million).

Senate Democrats were the only group reporting a drop in their median net worth from the prior year -- a decline that is at least partly because of the loss of two extremely well-off Senate Democrats from the list: now-Secretary of State John Kerry, who had been the wealthiest senator with a 2011 average net worth of $248 million, and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) who had an average net worth of $87.5 million before his death last year.
Explore the 113th Congress' personal wealth and investments at OpenSecrets.org.


Issa back on top



The richest member of Congress was, once again, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) chairman of the House Oversight Committee. Issa, who made his fortune in the car alarm business, had an average net worth of $464 million in 2012. Issa had ruled the roost as the wealthiest lawmaker for several years but was bumped from that perch last year by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas).


In our analysis last year, we estimated that McCaul's 2011 average net worth was $500.6 million -- a dramatic increase for him from the year before. McCaul's affluence is primarily due to the holdings of his wife, Linda, the daughter of Clear Channel Communications Chairman Lowry Mays. McCaul took a dramatic tumble from the list's pinnacle, reporting an average net worth of $143.1 million in 2012.

Shed no tears for McCaul, though: His drop wasn't due to any great financial misfortune, but reflects changes in reporting rules. Beginning with reports covering calendar year 2012, high-value assets, income and liabilities belonging to the spouses of House members may be reported as being worth simply "$1 million or more." Previously, the forms required somewhat more specific valuations. So, for example, on his 2011 disclosure McCaul reported that his wife owned a 10.1 percent interest in LLM Family Investments that was worth "more than $50 million." Now, he reports that his wife's share of the fund has increased to 12.2 percent, but he can list it as a "spousal asset over $1,000,000," though it's likely worth much more.


This methodological change (to a system the Senate already uses) also appeared to affect Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine). On her disclosure form covering 2010, she reported having an average net worth of $750,000. Then in 2011 she married hedge fund manager Donald Sussman, which increased her average net worth for that year to $85.8 million. Her report for 2012 shows a dramatic decline, to $42.4 million, because of the new reporting rules.


The least wealthy member of Congress in 2012, at least on paper, was Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) -- a slot he occupied the previous year as well. Valdao reported an average net worth of negative $12.1 million in 2012. That's actually a big improvement from 2011, when his average net worth was negative $19 million. According to Valdao's disclosure forms and our interviews with his staff last year, his debt is the result of loans for his family dairy farm.

The second-poorest member of Congress continued to be Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), who for decades has owed millions of dollars for legal bills incurred in the 1980s, when he was charged with accepting a bribe while sitting as a federal judge. As we noted last year, Hastings was acquitted, but later impeached and removed by the Senate before running for Congress in 1992. His level of debt has not changed since 2005.

Although more members of Congress are millionaires than ever before, and the median net worth for all lawmakers is higher than ever, their total net worth -- the value of all their assets minus liabilities -- fell from $4.2 billion in 2011 to $3.9 billion in 2012. Again, that could be at least partly due to the change in the House reporting requirements for spousal assets and liabilities.

Congressional holdings

For several years recently, the stock market seemed to be out of fashion with members of Congress. That seems to have changed in 2012.

Last year we noted that an analysis of the top 50 investments held by members of Congress showed most companies had fewer congressional investors in 2011 than in 2010, a trend that had been ongoing for several years. We noted last year that only 11 stocks in the top 50 had more investors in 2011 than in 2010.

But of 41 stocks listed in the top 50 in both 2011 and 2012, 33 of them had more investors in 2012 than the year before.



General Electric continued to be the most popular investment for current members of Congress. In 2011, there were 71 lawmakers who reported owning shares in the company; in 2012, there were 74. The second most popular holding was the bank Wells Fargo, in which 58 members owned shares (up from 40 in 2011). Financial firms were well-represented in the 10 most popular investments: Bank of America came in sixth (51 members) and JPMorgan Chase was seventh (49 members). Both companies had more congressional investors than in 2011 (11 more for Bank of America and 10 more for JPMorgan Chase.)


Top Ten Congressional InvestmentsNumber of Members Invested020406080General ElectricWells FargoMicrosoft CorpProcter & GambleApple IncBank of AmericaJPMorgan Chase & ...IBM CorpCisco SystemsAT&T Inc



Investing in instruments like mutual funds, managed portfolios and even hedge funds continues to be a popular strategy. Besides providing good returns, they also cushion lawmakers from accusations of having a conflict of interest when they take actions on the job that might impact specific stocks.


Overall, though, real estate was the most popular investment for members of Congress. Their investments in real estate in 2012 were valued at between $442.2 million and $1.4 billion. The next most popular industry to invest in was securities and investment, with congressional investments being worth between $64.5 million and $229.6 million.


Commercial banks, computers and oil and gas rounded out the top five most popular investments for lawmakers in 2012.


Download the full list of all current members of Congress and the most popular congressional investments here: http://bit.ly/1gl3JyX

Images: Rep. Darrell Issa, AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite;
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Rank
NameMinimum Net WorthAverageMaximum Net Worth
1Darrell Issa (R-Calif)$330,380,031$464,115,018$597,850,005
2Mark Warner (D-Va)$96,221,316$257,481,658$418,742,000
3Jared Polis (D-Colo)$69,791,412$197,945,705$326,099,998
4John K. Delaney (D-Md)$65,151,162$154,601,580$244,051,998
5Michael McCaul (R-Texas)$102,547,780$143,153,910$183,760,040
6Scott Peters (D-Calif)$27,518,090$112,467,040$197,415,991
7Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn)$86,307,329$103,803,192$121,299,056
8Jay Rockefeller (D-WVa)$63,269,025$101,290,514$139,312,004
9Vernon Buchanan (R-Fla)$-58,149,853$88,802,066$235,753,986
10Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif)$1,046,071$87,997,030$174,947,989
11Diane Black (R-Tenn)$3,443,087$69,569,042$135,694,997
12Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif)$42,673,137$68,446,578$94,220,020
13Tom Rooney (R-Fla)$41,385,465$64,314,955$87,244,445
14Chris Collins (R-NY)$22,263,037$59,104,518$95,946,000
15Robert Pittenger (R-NC)$29,927,054$54,791,526$79,655,998
16Suzan DelBene (D-Wash)$23,908,063$54,251,531$84,595,000
17James E. Risch (R-Idaho)$19,123,056$53,517,527$87,911,998
18Bob Corker (R-Tenn)$8,675,020$49,114,509$89,553,998
19Gary Miller (R-Calif)$17,813,046$46,542,523$75,272,000
20Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)$20,908,191$45,402,595$69,897,000
21Chellie Pingree (D-Maine)$34,418,068$40,462,046$46,506,025
22Alan Grayson (D-Fla)$-2,212,951$40,362,024$82,936,999
23Scott Rigell (R-Va)$14,104,074$38,247,537$62,391,000
24John Hoeven (R-ND)$10,209,077$37,115,538$64,021,999
25Jim Renacci (R-Ohio)$31,338,760$36,634,730$41,930,701
Note: Senate, House, Executive branch and Judicial rules require the disclosure of items belonging to the filer's spouse and/or dependent children. When present, those items are displayed on this page and are included in all calculations throughout this section.
 

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Typical. Thank you for your service - now get the h*** out!

Scumbag politicians.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm sure that even 1 billion of the 6 billion dollars we shell out to politicians every year would do well to alleviate a lot of stress from veterans.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
That's odd. I was under the impression the government thinks we are all nobodies, veterans or not.
Politicians are the ruling class. I wouldn't be expecting any fairness or help from them anytime soon.

A politician's #1 job is to protect themselves and their political position.
Anyone who thinks otherwise has not been paying attention.
I was under no illusion about that. I did not know how much of our money was going into paying these fat cats ridiculous salaries only for them to turn around and take more from the last group of people on earth they need to be harassing. When you start getting down into the particulars of how these people are compensated for doing a sh**ty a job as they have been doing it is just that much more infuriating. I dont give a good God Damn where these people went to school or who their daddy is. I only care about how they do their job because it directly effects my life and yours. They are getting away with murder just as they always have. The only difference is... You know how much its costing you.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
No - Veterans don't need their money. Paul Ryan and Patty Murray need their money more then they do. According to Paul all you have to do is become a hired gun and rake in the millions. Paul Ryan is poor. See

Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's new running mate, amended two years' worth of congressional financial disclosure reports in June to include an income-producing trust worth between $1 million and $5 million, USA Today reports.
The trust, which Ryan's wife Janna Ryan inherited in 2010 after her mother's death, was previously left off Ryan's financial disclosure reports. In documents filed with the Clerk of the House, Ryan said they were left off his 2010 and 2011 reports as an "inadvertent omission," according to USA Today. He reported that the trust produced at least $15,000 in income in 2010 and between $100,001 and $1 million in 2011.


Members of Congress every year are required to report their wealth and liabilities in broad ranges, so it's impossible to determine their exact net worth. USA Today notes that members of Congress often amend their financial disclosure reports as Ryan has and that there's nothing to suggest Ryan's omission wasn't inadvertent.


Ryan made the new disclosure as Mitt Romney's presidential campaign was vetting his potential as a running mate.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Paul Ryan Net Worth Random Celebrity ProfileHow much is Paul Ryan worth?$7.8 Million
Paul Ryan's Annual Salary$175 Thousand





Paul Ryan net worth: Paul Ryan is an American Congressman from the state of Wisconsin who was recently announced as Mitt Romney's Vice Presidential candidate and has a net worth of $7.8 million. Paul Ryan's federal financial disclosures revealed that his net worth fell somewhere between $2.1 million and $7.8 million and include a blind trust that is worth up to $50 million. Paul Ryan's net worth increased 75% between 2001 and 2011. Paul Ryan's congressional salary is $174 thousand per year but in 2011 he earned an additional $200+ thousand from various investments in a mineral company. Ryan and his family live in a $420,000, six bedroom home in Janesville Wisconsin.
 

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Politician Profile

View full reports for all years

  • Net Worth:

    From $350,019 to $1,349,998
    Rank: 67th in Senate
  • Assets: 17 totaling $550,019 to $1,450,000
  • Liabilities: 3 totaling $115,003 to $250,000
  • Transactions: 1 totaling $15,001 to $50,000
  • Agreements: 0
  • Compensation: 0
  • Income: 1 totaling $0




  • Positions Held: 0
  • Travel: 0

  • Gifts: 0
  • Honoraria: 0
 

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Paul Ryan can kiss my motherFN arse. I am beyond pissed off with our representatives IRT to cutting our COLA. All of mine have been contacted, more then once. It is a betrayal of trust. We served, and some payed very highly to perform that service, only to have a guaranteed COLA to protect our retirement, taken away little by little. This shows if they are willing to do this, then they are more then willing to do it to many others. SS, your 401K, you name it. The real reason they cut the COLA, was they can get away with it and know that the votes lost are not enough to make a difference.
 

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One of the reasons for cutting these was apparently in response to the double dippers. Guy in my office, retired officer receives $60k in retirement, and now has a GS position with the government making $80k.
 

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really? so what. He did his time and earned his military retirement, that was promised for that time. The COLA was supposed to be guaranteed to protect against inflation. Now he has a job and gets paid for his work.

Are you sure he makes that much in retirement? He must of been somewhat senior warrant or officer. As a retired E-8 w/ 20 years and 30% disability (which means 400 a month is tax free), for pay purposes, I see a whopping 24k gross. Minus my SBP and taxes, it ends up being around 21K. I have to work to make ends meet, and do.

Btw, for me, it's not about the money, it's about the all the broken promises...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Double dippers!? You must not have read this thread. 6 billion dollars a year for their "compensation" and pensions and they are worried about some guys making 24K because they worked two jobs? Bullish!t! They work 4 to 6 years and receive full pensions for life. Disgusting
 

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Kam, did you know that the Hawaii vacation cost the tax payers over 4 MILLION DOLLARS ? What the hell happened to camp David & and a fishing pole ? And what the hell do we owe granny ? This sh!t makes me sick ! How can that man look America in the eye ? One thing is for sure, slavery was never abolished , they changed the name of it to MIDDLE CLASS !
 

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What's this post about? I just see that ass...
 
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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Kam, did you know that the Hawaii vacation cost the tax payers over 4 MILLION DOLLARS ? What the hell happened to camp David & and a fishing pole ? And what the hell do we owe granny ? This sh!t makes me sick ! How can that man look America in the eye ? One thing is for sure, slavery was never abolished , they changed the name of it to MIDDLE CLASS !
Yes sir I am aware. However 4 million is a drop in the hat compared to the 6 billion a year I mentioned. That doesn't mean that its excusable. I am just pointing out how despicable it is that these men and woman sit in a room somewhere on furniture that that most likely rivals the cost of your car and brainstorm about cut backs only to come to the conclusion that it should come from veterans pensions. Never even considering the option of giving up some of their ridiculous pay that they don't even fcking need! Murray and Ryan were backed by his unholiness in this decision. Its funny when I bring up his opulent vacations to his sympathizers (that's what I've taken to calling his ignorant supporters) they say "they all take those vacations". Then I say - some of them in the past supported slavery! Does that mean he should do it as well!? What is this 3rd grade monkey see monkey do!? Now that's a pretty drastic jump from taking Vacation to slavery however, I'm talking about treating veterans with dignity and respect. Human rights. Promising a man retirement with certain stipulations and then stripping away those stipulations little by little all while wallowing in your own riches and writing your own raises is blatant disrespect! Yet where is the out cry? There was a little blurb about it on the news and some grumblings among the the populace and then what? They are the government they can get away with whatever they want? These are elected officials damn it. Its a privilege and they are railroading it right up our collective asses!
 

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One of the reasons for cutting these was apparently in response to the double dippers. Guy in my office, retired officer receives $60k in retirement, and now has a GS position with the government making $80k.
So what? By that definition I fit that description. I was medically retired from the Army 10 years ago, went back to school, and now work in the government in a GS position. I'm only 35 years old, am I just supposed to sit around on my ass not doing anything productive for the rest of my life?
 
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