Paul Ryan’s crusade to “Raid the Railroad” is being framed as an attempt to “save” taxpayers money. Where have we heard this language before?

Paul Ryan, Republican chair of the House Budget Committee, is attempting to Raid the Railroad Retirement fund by introducing a ‘poison pill’ that would effectively steal the hard earned money that Railroad workers have been putting aside for years. Many people may be familiar with Paul Ryan’s current budget plan for our nation, which he calls a “path to prosperity.”  What many people may not be aware of is that his plan for the nation is similar to his plan for local railroad workers, which is to create a “path to prosperity” for the top 1% that is being paved by a “path to poverty” for the rest of us.

Paul Ryan added a little something extra this year to the conservative’s immoral budget proposal for America.  In addition to devastating our social safety net by gutting social programs that benefit the most vulnerable populations among us, including the working poor, sick, disabled and elderly populations, Paul Ryan is extending this destructive crusade to include middle class working Americans who contribute to the railroad pension fund.  It should be noted that the money saved from this crusade will be transfered up to the wealthiest among us, who believe they are entitled to it!

According to the Railroad Retirement Board “An accompanying report (House Report 112-421) to the House of Representatives’ version of the federal budget for fiscal year 2013 includes a list of reforms that could impact government income security programs.” According to this report, conservative politicians in Washington are actively trying to “conform Tier I so that its benefits would equal those of Social Security, with an estimated savings to taxpayers of $2 billion over 10 years.”  What this means is that workers will be forced to alter their existing pension plan, which has been working to benefit retired and disabled railroad employees for years.

What Paul Ryan is not telling the American people is that the railroad pension fund has absolutely nothing to do with taxpayers.  The Railroad pension fund is completely funded by railroad workers themselves.  Not one dime of taxpayer money is used to fund this pension plan.  So, why would a conservative politician in Washington say otherwise?  The short answer is that Paul Ryan is operating under a radical ideology that seeks to transfer wealth from average working Americans to upper class members of what Vice President Joe Biden referred to as the “privileged sector.”

Despite the fact that Railroad workers fund their own pension plans, NOT TAXPAYERS! it is important to point out that this language of “saving taxpayers $2 billion over 10 years” will soon be the focus of attention by the majority of conservative politicians in Washington, not to mention Fox news, and all of the radical right wing talk show hosts.  Soon, they will all be on the same page, so to speak, and join forces to endlessly repeat this talking point of saving taxpayers money.

When viewed through the lens, or “frame” of saving taxpayers money, Paul Ryan’s comments appear to make sense.  This is how framing works.  Specific language is used to create a “frame” that represents how people see an issue.  In this case, the endless repetition of “saving taxpayers money” that will shortly occur will start to make sense to viewers and listeners of this right wing echo chamber because of the sheer repetition of this nonsensical frame.  This strategy works in a similar fashion to advertising.   The more a message is heard or seen, the more readily available it becomes once this topic is brought up.

With that being said, the sad, but ugly truth is that some of us will begin to view the Railroad Retirement pension fund through the lens of this frame, and believe that this issue is primarily about saving taxpayers money, and not about the fact that it really involves stealing money from working Americans.

The great thing about framing, (for conservatives who seek to manipulate us), is that any fact that doesn’t fit the frame is rejected, and only misinformed opinions that reinforce the frame are accepted.  They’re pretty slick aren’t they!

Since the ‘poison pill’ language above has not yet been used to amend the Railroad Retirement Act, the Railroad Retirement Board, who oversees the fund is not able to comment on what changes to tier I benefits will actually take place for current railroad employees.  I guess now would be the time for people who work on the railroad, as well as concerned citizens who care about threats to our current social safety net, should begin to take action by calling their local and state representatives to protest this immoral theft taking place by radical conservatives politicians.


64 thoughts on “Paul Ryan’s crusade to “Raid the Railroad” is being framed as an attempt to “save” taxpayers money. Where have we heard this language before?

  1. I agree that railroaad retirement is fully funded by everyone working on the nations railroads and the railroads who employ them. I am one of them. I have paid into railroad retirement for nearly 34 years. There are thousands like me. People like Paul Ryan need to be educated by the law on this matter. Is he allowed to do anything he wants unchecked? Railroad Retirement is not a drain on our economy. It is fully funded and needs to be left alone.

    1. Thomas – my husband has worked for UP for 32 years – would you please explain to me what they are trying to do. I am not real familiar with Railroad Retirement as we are not there yet – are they trying to do away with it and make you pay SS or what?

      1. Railroad Retirement is tied to social secruity. We pay that amount similar toTier 1 taxes and on top of that Tier 2 taxes. Both tier 1 excesses and tier 2 is more than others pay. That goes to railroad retierement as well as what the Railroad pays for each worker. It all goes to fund railroad retirement. None comes out of the general treasurey. Paul Ryan’s budget thinks that by reducing our retirement to about what is social security, he can save the budget 2 billion over 10 years. He thinks our retirement comes out of the general treasury. It has been privatized in the railroad retirement act of 2001. It is administered by the Railroad Retirement Board, a government agency, but we fund it and gutting our retirement will not save the general treasury anything. For questions on this go online to I hope this helps. Tom Howe

      2. OK so who is correcting him on this and explaining to him how this all works?
        BTW thanks for the explanation! Where the heck is the UNION!!!

      3. Unfortunately, he knows how it works!! This is an intentional effort by conservatives to enrich those at the top at the expense of everyone else. The right wing echo chamber (Fox news, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc) are spreading misinformation and lies by appropriately framing them. “Don’t punish the rich”, “tax relief”, “class warfare” “entitlement programs” etc. These frames are being used to convince everyone to vote for Republicans, who in turn, enact policies, budgets, and other radical pieces of legislation to continue enriching those at the top. This is what prompted me to start this blog. Hopefully, more people will become aware of framing, and how it is negatively impacting our lives.

    2. If this were to somehow pass, it is my opinion that the backlash from all railroad employees would be devastating to this economy. Could you imagine a 5 day nationwide sickout? It would bring this country to a grinding halt……….

      1. Unfortunately Taft-Hartley says that will never happen. So we can’t even stand up for our rights with a “blue flu”

      2. Railroad Management has just as much to lose pensionwise as railroad workers. My guess is, they wouldn’t be too aggressive to halt a nationwide slowdown( not a wildcat strike) in order to send a clear message.

    3. I too will be retiring soon, fully expecting to receive what I paid into for my entire railroad career. Paul Ryan wants to raid something, let him and those like him, raid their own “retirement accounts” Oh wait a minute, they don’t pay anything, they just expect the Tax Payers to pay 100% of their plush retirements. Must be nice to work their 15 to 20 hour weeks and get 100% of their retirement paid off the backs of the working man/woman.

  2. Where does Paul Ryan get the audacity? The issue, a government that controls all of Amtraks stock. Their. Board appointed by the President which makes them a government controlled company. As long as Amtrak is subsidized by the Federal government, the workers will be at risk and raids by lunatics like Paul Ryan. Amtrack needs to make another effort to buy back their stock and become autonomous, not that this would keep the pension safe, but it would exclude Washington.

    1. Amtrak will always be at risk of the government controlling thier existance and funding. They also pay into railroad retirement as do the freight railroads and their workers. Amtrak could be legislated out of existance, but railroad retirement is off limits. Paul Ryan needs an education.

  3. Here I am having been disabled after 20 years of service because of narcolepsy. According to this, if it is passed, I find myself unable to feed or provide for my family. I guess I’ll have to move them and myself into his house and he can feed me. What an idiot. I notice he isn’t for cutting congressional salaries.

  4. The only thing we as railroaders have is retirement that WE fund ourselves! It’s an attack by an uneducated official with too much authority. We work 10 to 14 hrs a day to earn our way and our families pay the price right along with us! My main dream in life is to retire to be able to FINALLY spend time with my family and this puppet is trying to destroy everything. Why should I pay into Social Security when I already pay into my own pension? It’s not our fault that politicians keep screwing everything up and want to make us suffer for their bad management skills. The solution is simple, if you don’t have the money don’t spend it. The rest of the population has to live by that standard or we get reposessed or thrown in jail!
    Ryan does not govern FOR THE PEOPLE! He is on his own agenda and needs to be removed.

    1. After 39 Years of paying into a retirement fund I find myself trying to defend my right to receive benefits. while some beauracrate with a golden parachute tries to spin the lie that I am raiding the Tax payer. Railroad retirement is paid for solely by Railroad employees, only our money funds it. It is in fact a private retirement account. If the politicos get away with stealing this retirement, they can assign themselves the right to raid all private retirement accounts including yours. So before you jump on the get the railroaders funds band wagon, think about that. Yours will be next, how about your 401k or IRA how safe will they be if the goverment gets away with this. What Ryan is trying to do is theft nothing more nothing less. He believes if he can get the general public to buy his lies he can get away with it, the old divide and conquer strategy. If you are a working man, if you have a retirement plan whether you are a union, non- union or whatever, if you want to save your retirement you better help us stop this now. Do you really think they will be satisfied with just the other guys money?

  5. How would this enrich those at the top? In my opinion this was an attempt to save the government money but since whoever wrote that part into the bill doesn’t know that railroad retirement is privately funded nothing is going to happen with it. It was a viscious attack on the working man and people need to remember this come election time but people need not worry that anything will come of this as far as railroad retirement goes. Right now railroad retirement costs the federal government zero dollars so why would abandoning the private funding and making them pay into and receive social security benefits save “2 billion dollars”. I’ve read that part in Ryan’s budget and it was only a suggestion of something the committe could look into, there was no other details given than that.

  6. My Husband has put 34 hard years on the tracks as a laborer, Paying into his Railroad Retirement so that he could someday retire comfortably in middle class. How dare some rich 1% try to lay claim to it ! Give up what you got Paul Ryan ! Stay out of Ours!!

  7. CLEVELAND, April 16 — The U.S. House of Representatives has adopted federal budget legislation sponsored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) that would have devastating effects on the retirement security of both active and retired BLET members, as well as all railroad workers. The measure passed on March 29 by a vote of 228-191, with 10 Republicans joining all of the Democrats in voting against it.

    Perhaps the most devastating portion of the Ryan Budget are the provisions that sponsors claim “would conform Tier 1 so that its benefits would equal those of Social Security, with an estimated savings to taxpayers of $2 billion over 10 years.” Enactment of this legislation would eliminate the Railroad Retirement Occupational Disability program, as well as the “60/30” provision for allowing early retirement for railroad workers at age 60 if they have 30 years of service. Under the legislation, the earliest these individuals could retire would be age 62. Annuities for spouses of these workers also would be negatively impacted in this manner. These provisions would negatively affect the annuities of almost 120,000 non-disabled employees, almost 90,000 spouses and over 62,000 occupationally disabled employees.

    The Ryan Budget fundamentally misconstrues the relationship between Railroad Retirement and Social Security, and ignores the fact that all Railroad Retirement benefits above Social Security — whether Tier 1 benefits or Tier 2 benefits — are fully funded by railroad workers and their employers; none of these benefits are funded from the general treasury. Therefore, no actual budgetary savings would result from enactment of this legislation.

    “The Ryan Budget’s claim that American taxpayers will realize a savings if our occupational disability and retirement annuities are gutted is so blatantly false,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said, “that even the head of the carriers’ lobbying group has called out Chairman Ryan on his deception, and told him not to ‘interfere’ in our privately-funded industry pension.”

    The Ryan Budget also attacks two other key components of the American social compact in a way that would negatively impact active and retired railroad workers. Under current law, new retirees receive Social Security benefits based on the growth in wages. The Ryan Budget would set initial benefits based on the growth in prices, which over time grow at a slower rate. This would harm 70% of Social Security beneficiaries by cutting benefits by roughly 16% for the average new retiree in 2050 and 28% in 2080. These cuts also would affect Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits.

    The Ryan Budget also would end Medicare as we know it. The Medicare eligibility age would be raised to 67. This, alone, would increase out-of-pocket health care costs by $4,300 a year for nearly 1 million individuals ages 65 and 66, and would cause the costs of the GA 46000 Plan to soar. Further, the Ryan Budget replaces Medicare’s guaranteed benefits with a “premium support” payment that beneficiaries would use towards the cost of private insurance or traditional Medicare starting in 2023.

    The amount of this voucher would be based on the second cheapest available plan in the area. There is no guarantee that this payment would actually cover enough of a premium’s cost to actually make the Medicare replacement health care affordable. In fact, it is more than likely that beneficiaries would be left with increased out of pocket costs, because the Ryan Budget caps the amount of the voucher at a half percent above Gross Domestic Product, which is far below the growth in health insurance costs in recent years. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that new beneficiaries could pay over $1,200 more per year by 2030 and over $5,900 more per year by 2050 under. It also would allow private insurers to cherry pick the younger and healthier beneficiaries, leaving Medicare with a disproportionate share of the oldest, sickest and costliest beneficiaries, driving up costs for the program and setting it on an unsustainable path.

    “This budget is one more example of how Republican Paul Ryan and his worker-hating allies are trying to hurt middle class Americans — including the railroad workers who, with the carriers, fully fund their own pension plan,” BLET Vice President & National Legislative Representative John Tolman said. “Also included are the standard targets — Amtrak and its workers and high speed rail, by eliminating funding for high speed rail and limiting overtime for Amtrak workers. But the cuts aren’t limited to only railroad workers. The Ryan Budget also attacks the poor, the sick, the elderly and the nation’s children, while allowing the wealthy to continue to get away with not paying their fair share by extending the Bush tax cuts, retaining oil company subsidies and increasing defense spending by $228 billion.”

    While the legislation is not expected to be taken up by the Senate in this session, President Pierce is warning BLET members not to take the threat lightly.

    “The presumptive Republican presidential nominee already has publicly stated his support for the Ryan Budget, and Chairman Ryan is reported to be on the ‘short list’ of potential vice presidential candidates,” President Pierce said. “If those who support the Ryan Budget capture the White House and the Senate, and retain the House, this nightmare will become a reality, and our members’ economic security will be set back by decades. We need to remember this on November 6 and vote for candidates who will help working Americans.”
    Monday, April 16, 2012

    1. I have heard of this from my father who is an Amtrak engineer. I have attempted to find the exact wording of Mr. Ryan’s budget proposal regarding railroad retirement and have been unable to find any information that was not submitted by the BLE, which is a biased source. What is the name of this bill so I can read it for myself to substantiate your claims?

    1. It is true. Paul Ryan is trying to gut railroad retirement. I have paid in for 34 years and have one year to retirement. I have been told The senate will not review this bill that has passed the house this year. We have a Democrat for president and we have the majority in the Senate. We may not have one or both next year. Seems we need to fight it now. Serious revisions need to be done or scrap the bill for good.

  8. I paid into the Railroad Retirement Program for over 39 years and retired in Dec. of 2008. Ronald Regan tried to mess with the Railroad retirement system back in the 80’s thinking it was a taxpayer supported system, which it is not and has never been since it was started before Social Security was ever started. It was started for Railroad Workers only, and was, and still is funded by Railroad workers and Employers, These Politicans like Ryan Need to be educated in a Public Forum in front of the TV so that they understand that NO TAXPAYER Money is involved with Railroad Retirement Benefits Tier I or Tier II, the only reason our benefits are higher is because we have paid more into the funding of those benefits. There are no Taxpayers funds used for any Railroad retirement purposes , so keep your hands out of the pot.

    1. We need to get the word out to the public we are getting attack by this liar Paul Ryan, he got on his band box in Washington and lied about how our pension works and nobody question him and they voted on it and it passed. Thank God the House seen through these lies and did not entertain his lies. If we do not stand up to the likes of him they will keep on knocking the middle class into the ground until their is no middle class, after us who is next. Come November we need to get out and vote and get rid of liars like Paul Ryan.

  9. I worked for the Railroad as Conductor for nearly 40 years, my first year I slept in the back of a 54 chevy because my wife was pregnant and I was cut off and needed the money to pay the hospital bill. There were no pagers or cell phones and agent would come outside when I got a call and wake me up to go to work. When I finally got enough seniority to come home and work we had a bell put on the back of our house so we could hear the phone ring as not to miss my call to work. I worked every time they called me and I never missed a call or was late to work for nearly 40 years. We had two sons that became doctors we supported them and never ask the Government for one dime of help. I finally was able to retire October of 2010. My Employer and I funded my pension plan not one dime of it was on the taxpayers. To make Railroad Retirement benefits equal to Social Security Benefits would only rob me of my pension I worked so hard for, and would be of no savings to the taxpayer. The question that comes to mind is what Mr. Ryan was planing on doing with the money I paid over and above Social Security ?I am not able to go back to work , it’s time to let someone else take the call . Thank God I am free at last.

  10. This is real serious business and yet I hear other railworkers and other middle class workers say that they will vote for republicans and remove President Obama. I recently retired from railroad service paying much more into my retirement than a lot of other employees in other industries. I was on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week for nearly 45 years! Many of my brothers did and are doing the same and yet they will be faced to work until age 62 with reduced pensions and all of us waiting until age 67 for Medicare eligibility. This will affect all middle class workers whether Republican or Democrat. Bottom line is that those middle class workers that vote Romney/Ryan will not only be selling “us” out, they will be selling themselves out.
    Now is the time to get out and respectfully and diplomatically educate our brothers and sisters in labor and most importantly to vote. After all it is labor that keeps the “lights on” in this country, not only that but we outnumber the rich so we can do it at the polls. They do not own us and many of them became rich on the injured backs of their workers.

  11. I have been an engineer for 18 years, and thoroughly understand this crisis we are facing. If Romney is elected, we will have to fight this battle as the industry did in the Reagan era. If they were to pursue this raid on our retirement, united we would cripple this country’s rail traffic by bringing to a standstill.The carrier’s know that, and thats why they are opposed to Paul Ryan’s proposed thievery as well. Perhaps even scarier is another 4 years of Obama. We are in the swirl in regards to our economy and the value of the American dollar.If it collapses, as many well respected economist’s are predicting, our retirement is the last thing we will be thinking about. Obama has clearly shown that he has no regard for the deficit, proposing and passing many social programs that we have no way of funding without borrowing over our heads even further. He is attempting to kill the coal industry, which would be the end of my job here in Colorado. By voting Obama, we are electing to preserve the dust speck on the acorn headed for the mouth of the bear. We are in a troubling time, with no rational direction to turn that I can see…..

    1. Paul, thanks for the comment. I agree with you about the Reagan attack on union workers, which is similar to the current attack on postal workers, railroad workers, and other unions throughout the country. Conservatives are actively trying to convince people to vote in favor of stripping away their own rights to collectively bargain once their wages are lowered, benefits are reduced, and overtime increased. This law being presented by radical conservative politicians throughout the country should be called ‘work for less’ legislation, but instead, this has been framed as “right to work”, giving people the illusion that it protects worker rights when it actually strips rights and benefits away from workers. I’ve written a post or two about this.

      However, I must disagree with you regarding the deficit. The deficit we face is a direct result of conservative politicians seeking to transfer wealth from working people like yourself, and many other middle class and struggling American families to those in the top 1/10 of 1%. The Bush tax cuts, 2 unfunded wars (that future generations of taxpayers are on the hook for) and another poison pill introduced into Medicare, known as Part D, forces seniors to pay more for their prescription drugs. All of this amounts to a system that resembles Robin Hood in reverse. President Obama appropriately called Mitt Romney out on it the other day when he referred to his plan as “Romneyhood.

      Another area of disagreement is with the coal industry. President Obama has actually done everything that conservatives claim they want done, such as increasing drilling and reducing dependence on foreign oil. These are facts. The problem is that conservatives (who back the top 1%) have discovered that facts are irrelevant if the issues are properly framed. This is purposely done to enrich a few at the expense of the masses, much like the frames about our deficit.

      Instead of focusing on how to continue to rely on dirty, unsafe fuels of the past, we should start to rely on clean, safe fuels of the future. Clean energy jobs far surpass the number of dirty energy jobs in this country. Imagine if we actually implemented public policy that not only took advantage of free sources of energy (wind, solar) which will save everyone money in transportation costs, including businesses, but also reduce the toxic lung polluting chemicals in our atmosphere that we’re breathing, and help reverse the catastrophic damage to our planet.

      It is critical that we understand the power of framing to literally shape our opinions on issues. Unfortunately many of us do not become aware of what is happening until we are personally affected by a particular public policy, or action taken by those who seek to radically transform our society into a third world nation in order to enrich themselves at our expense.

  12. Paul Ryan, you need to educate yourself about Railroad Retirement, as if you don’t already know. That pension plan is funded by workers and employers, with no help whatsoever from outside. I am a retired engr, who has voted Republican for years, but I will not vote for you as long as you entertain “STEALING” our moneys for ANY purpose. You need to quit spreading lies and enuendo concerning Railroad Retirement. Remember, continue this path at your own destruction. Gary Addcox, Engineer (retired)

  13. Im 3rd genaration railroad.My grandmother draws from my step grandpa’s retirement sence he passed.She lives in a assisted living complex.Because of her mental health she gets up set when others in the complex get free help that her income dosnt allow her to take advantage of.My dad retired 6 or 7 years ago and lives comfortable.My mother just retired and for years paid into S.S. but draws from rail road retirement.Ive worked for the rail road sence i was 19 yrs old.I will have around 42 years of service when I reach retirement age at 60.The work we do is back breaking.Its better now than it was in the past.We spend alot of time on the road leaving our wives to raise our kids. I missed a lot of ball games & seeing my son grow up ,first steps, first time on a bike.The company I work for offers a 401 K but wont match any of it like other companys.LEAVE WHAT I’VE WORK FOR ALONE!Alot of rail road retires dont live long enough to draw a quarter of what they pay in!The work we do is hard on our body & Takes us away from our famly.What dose a polition know about phiscal labor. NOTHING! LET US REST WHEN WE RETIRE. NOT WORRY ABOUT MONEY.I will not vote for anything Ryan is involved with.The bad thing is I fill like i need to vote for Oboma not because i like him just to keep Ryan out & to protect what ive worked my life away for.

  14. How can I find a place where more is written about Ryan and the Railroad Retirement. I believe the story, but need more info to prove it is true to others.
    My husband is retired from the UP with almost 40 years service. I am also a retired spouse.

  15. Thank you for the information regarding Paul Ryan’s attempt to “steal” railroad retirement. I agree with the majority of the comments. My husband is an engineer with 16+ years in. He has worked the road 98% of his career, missing out on so many “firsts” and important moments. The work is exhausting, rest is limited, and time off a rarity. We cherish the time we have together as a family. Not everyone is cut out to be a railroader. The long hours and days away from home provide a good living, but sometimes I question the sacrifice. My husband reminds me that he is working to meet our family’s needs now and so that we can have a decent retirement in the future. As a couple we are dumbfounded by the sense of entitlement felt by the leaders of our country. They enjoy top salaries, excellent healthcare and benefits beyond the realm of good sense. They live in a fantasy world, expecting others to finance their greed and lifestyle. I agree with a previous post that noted it’s time that leaders start giving up some of what they’ve “earned” (and I use that term loosely). Unfortunately, I feel that american’s don’t have the opportunity to vote for a qualified candidate with common-sense and true leadership abilities anymore. It seems that we go to the polls and vote for the candidate that will do the least amount of damage to our country (and our retirement). The lesser of two evils as we’ve come to refer to it at our house. Railroaders, spouses, children, family and friends – when (not if) this issue comes up again, I beg you, please write, call, and email your congressmen/women, senators, newspapers, etc. explaining how railroad retirement really works. Let America know that railroad retirement is funded FULLY by railroaders and the carriers and them alone. They may be shocked by the truth!

  16. I’ve been working every day of my life since the second grade selling news papers on the corner in Philadelphia in rush hour traffic and I been working on the railroad for 35 years always available never turning down any over time and twenty two months to go for retirement. I paid into my pension all these years and planned my retirement on what I will get from my pension not Social Security if they take away my pension I’ll have to sell my home that I worked for all my life because I won’t be able to pay my taxes And the up keep on my home if Mr.Ryan has his way.I have not taken one red cent from our goverment all my life so Mr.Ryan leave us alone I’m to far into life to travel other ave. to get ready for retirement

  17. This is bull crap! U take the hard earned money instead of making it ur selves! How is tht better than ppl recieving welfare? It’s not! I mean u dont deserve any part of Tge RR money! I mean have u guys totally lost ur minds? Thts no way to end a resession! Cut all welfare out! Food stamps aren’t being used right! Neither is welfare! I’ve seen tht with my own eyes!

    1. The problem is that we tend to look down on those we see on welfare, but what we don’t see is why they are on welfare to begin with. What we don’t see is that wages have been stagnant for over 40 years. What we don’t see is that people are working and still have to apply for welfare because big businesses want to pay them poverty wages.
      What we don’t see is that 40% of American citizens have a combined wealth of less than 1%, while the top 1% have a combined wealth of nearly 50%. What we don’t see is that the hard work and increased productivity of our friends, neighbors and relatives is going in the pockets of this elite group of privileged folks at the top. To illustrate this point, in 2010, 93% of ALL INCOME GAIN in this country went to the top 1%. (I’ve written a post about this) That leaves 7% to go around for the remaining 99% of Americans! Instead of focusing on the poor, we should start focusing on those at the top who are making us all poorer.

    2. Paul Ryan needs to leave the railroaders’ pension alone. He has no business nor right to raid our retirement plan. No one but railroaders and their carriers funded that retirement plan. If he continues to pursue this direction of attack, he might find himself not occupying the White House. The government has gutted other pension funds, but since it never contributed a cent to our fund, it has no business attempting to strip retirees of theirs Those. in government better find ways to balance budgets, control runaway spending, and seal our borders from “illegal” immigration, or suffer their fate at the polls. It would be really refreshing to see 100 new Senators and 435 new Representatives. Oh, and a President who cares about our country.

  18. I emailed my my congresswoman this was her response.What do you think?
    Thank you for writing Congresswoman Hartzler about your concerns relating to railroad retirement. You are not alone in your concern, and I hope to clarify the situation. I realize some of this information you already know, but I wanted to be very thorough in my answer.

    Railroad retirement pensions are classified into Tier I and Tier II. The amount of pension money you get in Tier I is closely aligned with Social Security and you can draw that pension at 60. The amount of pension money you get in Tier II is based on the number of years and hours a railroad employee worked. This year the Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee report language had a proposal to start paying Tier I benefits at 62 instead of age 60. That would possibly save $2 billion over 10 years. Also, that move would further line it up to a system closer to Social Security age requirements. This committee report was non-binding and not included in the final language of the bill. The Budget Committee says that this is not something that they will be bringing up next year.

    Again, important to note that this was a committee recommendation and not law. T&I says that this is really a fight not worth picking. The change wouldn’t necessarily save any government dollars since the Railroad Trust fund is a private fund financed by employer and employee contributions. While the check you receive in the mail looks like it is coming from a government source since a government agency oversees the trust fund, the fund itself is not financed through government money. Again, it is a private fund. T&I doesn’t really want to take up the issue any time soon because they do not see any solvency issues with the Railroad Retirement trust fund.

    In summary, it was merely a recommendation thrown in the committee report and never acted upon and both the T&I and Budget Committees have no desire to bring the issue up next year.

    Please let me know if you have any additional questions,

    1. Interesting. It proves the point that the railroad is fully funded by employees, and does NOT involve taxpayer money!! Saving taxpayers money is the choice frame the radical right goes with whenever they want to raid something, or profitize (aka privatize) things that traditionally serve the public good.
      How else are they going to convince people to support their immoral attempts to steal your money, or get you to vote against your own well being.
      This attempt by Paul Ryan (aka lyin Ryan) is the first step toward profitizing the railroad retirement fund, much like the radical right has tried in the past to profitize Social Security. In reality, much like Social Security, there is no solvency issues with the Railroad trust fund. In fact, there is an excess amount of money in both! Simply put, whenever you hear claims being made that “we’re broke” or SS/RR is broke, this is code for the top 1% want this money for themselves!!

      1. This proves to me how totally dangerous Paul Ryan is as a politician. Such nerve to harm a pension plan and its retirees that is self funded . Raise holy hell with your local
        politicians if this proposal moves forward and I will join you even though I did
        not work for the railroad.

  19. The Federal government has raided Social Security to bankruptcy, now they want to steal Railroad retirement. Maybe it’s time to take a nice bite of theirs. They serve the voters for 1-2 terms and receive very handsome retirement and benefit packages, (much better than the rest of America). Which does come out of the TAXPAYERS pocket. All these politicians have no problem taking from us, and passing bills that are good for the American public. Yet they don’t fall under the same changes they make for us. There is no affect to their lifestyle. Maybe it’s time the American voter enters a bill for them as well.

  20. The current group of Republican leaders want nothing but to steal every existing pension dollar that exists. They have attacked public pensions, they have allowed the theft of private pensions, they suck the equity out of our 401k’s, and they want to privatize social security so that they can suck the equity our of that. This is just another shifting of the wealth in our country out of the pockets of the workers of America to bring us into a new dark age of a modern feudalist society. Don’t allow anyone to try to tell you that this is good for our nation, fight back, become proactive and work to make sure this does not happen!

  21. This is bull we (RR employees) paid this money in our selfs the so called government paid nothing toward our retirement,we paid in a considerable amount more any government that supports this stilling of our money should be jailed for fraud.

  22. I spent 40 years on the RR and 37 years as an officer of the UTU. Romney and Ryan are anti-union and anti-labor. They are whores for corporate America. We shouldn’t take the attack on our pension system lightly.

  23. How can he take money that is not TAX money away from us?? Thats like walking in and taking a nurses 401K plan……. Its humerous to me that so many supporters of his think our RRB is funded by SS monies… and they say that the SS fund has been funding the RRB for many years because the RRb is in the RED…. i love how people whom dont work for the RR and have no idea what they are talking about are running their mouths! This should ABSOLUTELY NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY!!

  24. If this were to happen, every single person in the railroad industry should refuse to go to work until they give back what they suggest stealing our retirement. Thats all Railroaders, from the highest to the rest, like Warren Buffett, Dennis Washington, the Presidents, vice presidents, superintendents, trainmasters etc etc, if we stand up to the replubican thieves this country would be in a stand still like immediatly. We cant let this happen. All rr workers must stick together on this!

  25. Railroad Retirement is a defined benefit pension plan. Defined benefit plans have become an evil four-letter word for many conservative politicians (particularly those defined benefit plans negotiated by labor unions). WHY? Because a defined benefit plan does not put the money into individual accounts and thus generate the type of wall street profits associated with private investments (i.e., 401k, etc…). Does anyone else remember Bush and the GOP wanting to place Social Security into individual accounts and invested in the stock market? What would have happened if our country would have done that? The 2008 recession would have wiped out everyones SS and wall street would have put that money into their pockets, not yours. This is not some conspiracy theory. Bush and the GOP already proposed these things with SS. Don’t let the GOP do this to our Railroad Retirement (or SS for that matter). On a final note, realize this desire to abolish defined benefit plans for individual private accounts will not go away. There are alot of powerful people who want your money.

  26. Where does this guy come off. If I ever thought about voting republican it just went out the window. 31 years I put into railroad retirement and he wants to cut my pension. You know where he and his croonies can go.

  27. Why is railroad retirement, fully quaranteed, become reducing anunity having
    the CPI basketof goods taxes added to the taxes paid on contrubutions of
    22.5%. Now the end of October 2012 we’ve having 19.9% of the value
    of our retirement year anunity deducted for the u.s. debt!!
    b=CPI-U B.L.S.
    c=CPPI (actual inflation)
    d=Difference (adjustment factor)

    a b c d
    12/1/2002 1.59% 7.84% 6.26%
    12/1/2003 2.27% 8.27% 6.00%
    12/1/2004 2.68% 8.57% 5.90%
    12/1/2005 3.39% 9.71% 6.32%
    12/1/2006 3.24% 9.61% 6.37%
    12/1/2007 2.85% 7.20% 4.35%
    12/1/2008 3.85% 6.78% 2.94%
    12/1/2009 -0.34% 0.93% 1.27%
    12/1/2010 1.64% 0.78% -0.86%
    12/1/2011 3.16% 3.81% 0.66%

  28. Paul Ryan? Is that the same guy who couldn’t even carry his OWN state when he was running for VP?…Leave RRR alone. Fix SS with all those deadbeats who you couldn’t even get to vote for ya….

  29. The Republican/Teaparty @ssh0les are at it again. Trying to steal our retirement funds! This money has been deducted from your checks for all these years and now they try to steal it over and over again.sound familiar. When are you refucks gonna get it?

  30. If this is ever even close to getting passed , it would be time to put our big boy and big girl pants on and strike . Not get talked out of it by our international unions ( who , let’s face it ,are just worried about THIER lack of revenue ) and shut down every line and every city with a commuter service . Illegal ? Maybe . Them STEALING OUR MONEY ? Illegal and immoral !

  31. Does Paul Ryan ever get educated?? That money is to pay for retirement. It was funded outside of any federal taxes that were collected.

  32. It’s sad Paul Ryan or any elected official try’s to RAPE the only thing that works well without any government help, he only see’s the $’s that’s in there and he can’t stand not having his hand’s on it. I’ve worked 38 hard damned years out there and paid into my pension then to have a guy that has never really worked a day other than trying to screw us out of what we have worked our whole life for SCREW PAUL RYAN. I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE SEEN HIM WORK 5 YEARS IN MY SHOES.

  33. True that the workers and railroads fully fund railroad retirement but aren’t all railroads heavily subsidized by the federal government (the taxpayers)?

  34. Lets face it almost every corporation is subsidized in some way, shape, or form by the taxpayers. So we 99% are all in the same boat. Yet, the conservatives believe in more social welfare for the 1% and rugged individualism for the rest of us, which is a quote from FDR after the great depression I am told. Now the huge Central States Pension Fund Trustees are the first to use the Dec. 2014 Kline/Miller bill (The Multi Employer Pension Reform Act) to cut our pensions up to 75%! leaving nothing more than S.S. to live on in old age. There are many laborers in many different fields like, trucking, car haul, and many, many other industries, facing devastating cuts to enrich the very people who caused this. For example, our “Trustees” lost 6 Billion to Goldman-Saks in 2008 and still manage the fund, and have just given themselves raises; already taking in
    $300,000 to $750,000. Also our gov. allowed many companies to get away without paying their pension contributions (unknown to the general public), and many other anti-worker public policies which will eventually bring everyone ‘s standard of living back to the depression era. With a government like this, who needs enemies?

  35. Why don’t we the people take the money Paul ryan wants from his pension…all of Congress pension will help to bailout what the want…
    Leave our the railroad pension along.
    Worked for the railroad industry for 40 years
    Most of it like 85 percent at night.

  36. from caesar trevino
    i workded for the railroad industry for 40 years and i do not agree as what paul ryan wants to do with our railroad retirement. maybe it might be wise to get the money that he needs out of the entire congress pension. how would he like that.

  37. The blame can also be found, with the Democratic Party. We go nowhere as a country, until we form a 3rd party , to expose the corruption. We simply do not have a party for the working class, or the retirees. Democrats lost touch, when they refuse to tell the truth, and continue statis quo. Trump is smart, and will ride the wave. He wins Ohio, it’s all over for Hillary. Blame it on the Democrats because they took the money too! I remain a disapointed Democrat. Jesse Ventora is correct. It’s going to take a reveloution. Thank you, Very Truly yours, J.J. Grabner 111, P.O. Box 24, Beaver Pa. 15009-0024. Ph. 724-462-7757. (Volunteer, N.A.R.V.R.E. Director Area 2)

  38. It’s true that the railroad employees fund their own retirement plan. The railroads also help fund the railroad retirement system. Buy it’s NOT true that the the railroad employees and employer FULLY fund their benefits. In 2015, 36% of the funding for the Railroad Retirement plan cam from the taxpayers.
    Read the 2015 report from the Railroad Retirement Board, page 9, paragraph 3, ”
    “Another major source of income to the railroad retirement and survivor benefit program consists of transfers from the social security trust funds”… “In fiscal year 2015, the RRB trust funds realized a net of $4 billion, representing 36 percent of RRB financing sources”.
    Stop misleading Railroad employees! You have them believing that their benefits are not being subsidized by the taxpayers when their Annual Report on the RRB Retirement Plan clearly tells us about the $4 Billion ANNUAL subsidy.
    If you want to tell us about why you deserve larger benefits than everyone else in the Social Security System, make your case. But stop misleading people by telling them that they’ve paid the full cost of these benefits. They haven’t!

    1. What you are saying about being subsidized by tax payers is false. The money you are referring to, was payed to social security and transfered to RRB is money payed by employees who are now under railroad retirement. Any additional money that railroad employees received is payed from tier 2 taxes which are payed by RR employees and their company. Quit trying to mislead the public about a pension that you know nothing about.

  39. Since I have been retired now for 7 years and we are now faced with this administration I and many like me have been involved more then ever in politics. We formed a Indivisible Nation Wide Chapter locally and are on the protest lines as much as we can. We make phone calls and sign petitions all the time to get these guys out. I urge everyone to join one of these resist groups NOW !! Mitch Wrenn

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