Cutting government leaders’ wages to address national debt? Wrong!



Never mind that a national debt of  $17 million cannot be addressed with cuts in the hundreds of thousands.

Never mind that comparing what national leaders get paid with what either soldiers or seniors get paid is completely irrelevant to the question of the national debt.

Never mind that there are only four living former presidents getting a pension, but in 2014, more than 59 million retired workers will receive Social Security benefits (and that Social Security benefits represent only 38% of the income of the elderly), and there are remain roughly 38,000 US soldiers still in Afghanistan.

Yes, never mind all the meaningless comparisons, and focus your attention, instead, on the (ahem) facts presented.

False: A retired president’s salary is $450,000 fr life.  True:  A retired president’s salary is $191,400.

False: House and Senate members get a salary of $174,000 for life. True: Currently (2014), there are 413 retired members of Congress receiving federal pensions — 290 get pensions of $60,972, and 123 get $35,952. There’s a complicated formula for thee numbers, but by law they cannot exceed 80% of the member’s final salary. Also, they’re not eligible for a pension until they’re at least 50, but only if they’ve completed 20 years of service. They’re eligible at any age once they’re over 62 or after serving 25 years.  If they serve fewer than five years in office, they get no pension at all.

False: The speaker of the House gets $223,500 for life.  True:  The speaker receives a pension based on the same formula used for all retired members.  See preceding paragraph.

False:  The majority and minority leaders get $194,400 for life.  True:  These leaders receives pensions based on the same formula used for all retired members. See above.

As an aside, lawmakers haven’t given themselves a raise since January 2009.

False:  The average salary for a soldier in Afghanistan is $38,000.  True:  A soldier’s salary depends on his or her rank and years of service.  In 2014, a private (E1) with fewer than two years of service gets a salary of $18,378 (the lowest) and a staff sergeant (E6) with six or more years of service gets $35,578 in salary.  It is mathematically impossible for the average to be higher than the maximum.

C’mon man!  How inept must you be to lie in the wrong direction — making the soldier’s average salary higher than even the maximum salary when the point is about how low the soldier’s salary is?

So the meme’s creator can’t get any of the facts right, can’t create meaningful comparisons, and can’t suggest anything meaningful to do about the national debt. That’s kinda sad, but consider this meme busted.


Kids don’t say the pledge — wrong

Kids don't say the pledge -- wrong

We see this sort of self-righteous stuff a lot when it comes to generational differences — typically, the writer lists things that are different between two generations (a list of “facts”) and declares the older generation superior (a value judgment) — but this one is especially wearisome since it doesn’t even have a fact on which to stand as it puffs out its chest.

My wife works in the front office of a public high school of 1,600 kids in an area so liberal that Bill O’Reilly says people here commune with Satan (if you don’t know BillO: he thinks people who disagree with his politics are evil), and my wife leads the entire school in the pledge of allegiance, over the public address system, every morning. Every. Single. Morning.

Our six kids have attended at least six of the area public schools, and they said the pledge of allegiance every morning.  Every. Single. Morning.

In fact, as I understand it, there are only five or six states that don’t set aside time in each school day for saying the pledge.

Really, folks, if you’re going to post self-congratulatory memes, it is prudent to at least poke around on the Internet to see if you have even a hint of a fact to stand on.