HIGHTOWER: Platinum Pensions For Politicians

etirement. The Golden Years!Well . . . maybe. In this age of global corporate greed and downsizing, firm after firm has been looting the pensions of their employees, and such giants as General Motors have walked away from their earlier pension promises, leaving thousands of retirees in dire straits -- not to mention poverty. Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats in Congress are in cahoots to cut-back on your social security, even proposing that you hold-off your retirement 'til you're 70, then begin drawing the benefits you're due. But guess who won't wait 'til they're 70 to retire? [Bell] Bingo! Members of Congress themselves. Take Dan Coats of Indiana, who's announced he'll step down this year after a decade in the US Senate. Dan has always been big on cutting back federal entitlement programs and telling people to get off the public dole.But next January, at only 56 years of age, he'll go on the dole, living the "Life of Reilly" on his congressional retirement of $71,000 a year, courtesy of us taxpayers. If he's typical, Coats will live to be 80 years old or more -- meaning we'll pay him more than $3 million over the next 25 years -- to do nothing!At least Dan's not a convicted criminal, like some of the 14 former members of congress are. Yet, despite their convictions, they're still drawing their pensions from us taxpayers! According to Citizens Against Government Waste, convicted congressmen collected nearly $700,000 in pension payments during 1996. While the average retiree on Social Security gets only about $8,000 a year, these Felonious Fourteen are averaging $50,000-a-year each, and they get their checks, like clockwork, even if they're sitting in the pokey.This is Jim Hightower saying . . . To help stop the payment of Platinum Pensions for Politicians, including politicians in the pokey, contact Citizens Against Government Waste: 202-467-5300.

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