Alert
Close

How far could you travel with $10,000? Enter AARP’s Winter Escapes sweeps now!

Highlights

Open
Military and Veterans Discount

 

FREE FUN!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Contests and
Sweeps

$10,000 Winter Escapes Sweepstakes

Beat the cold and cozy up to a chance of winning $10,000! See official rules.

AARP Auto Buying Program

MOST POPULAR

Viewed

How You'd Cut the Federal Deficit

You spoke up loud and clear. But is Washington listening?

especially targeting the pay and benefits of Capitol Hill lawmakers, who make $174,000.

Among the suggestions:

  • Deny the annual cost-of-living raises granted members of Congress by a 1989 federal law. (Actually, Congress beat them to it; last May, members overwhelmingly voted not to accept the 2011 increase, which would have amounted to $1,600.)
  • Cut their pay by as much as 50 percent, and slash or even eliminate their federal defined-benefits pension program. Retired members elected after 1984 who've served for at least 10 years receive, on average, about $36,000 a year. "They need to work for 30 years, just like the rest of us, then face the inevitable loss of those benefits, just like we are all are facing," one commenter said.
  • Ax their health insurance benefits. Like other federal employees, members of Congress can choose from such plans as Blue Cross and Kaiser, with the government paying up to 75 percent of the cost. "Make them 100 percent responsible for their health insurance premiums," one commenter said.

While these givebacks might have a certain sock-it-to-'em appeal, their fiscal impact would be small.

  • Cutting congressional paychecks in half would save only about $4.7 million a year. (By means of comparison, the chairman of Abbott Laboratories, the pharmaceutical giant, pulled down more than $25 million in 2010.)
  • Terminating pensions probably would save less than $25 million.
  • Eliminating health care coverage — assuming that all lawmakers opt for the most costly plan and that health care costs continue to increase in line with current projections — would reduce the budget deficit by only about $475,000.

2. Drastically cut defense spending

The budget calculator offered readers the option of reducing military spending by nearly $164 billion, to be achieved by reducing troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan and eliminating some weapons systems, among

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Downloadable mobile app from AARP® Roadside Assistance from Allstate.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can earn 3% cash back on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points