Stop Subsidizing the Well-Off

Stop Subsidizing the Well-Off: Now that the presidential campaign is over, it's time to ask a question about John McCain: Since he and his wife earn more than $6 million per year, why does McCain take $82,000 annually in federal pensions? (John and Cindy's financial disclosures can still be found here.) McCain earned the pensions, but clearly does not need them. Every pension dollar he pockets is passed on to our children as debt, or subtracted from resources that could be spent on the needy or for rebuilding the country. McCain could have his pensions canceled, or simply tear up the checks. Instead, federal taxpayers, with a median household income of $49,000, give McCain $82,000 a year he does not need.

The Arizona senator is hardly the only person drawing subsidized pensions he or she doesn't need. Many billions of dollars per year in Social Security, military and government-employee pensions go to people who already have hefty incomes. The country has just borrowed insane amounts of money to fix the financial meltdown. Little fairies will not come in the night to replace that money. The national debt must be paid down somehow. Want an across-the-board tax increase? A much smaller defense budget? Drastic Medicare cuts? Social Security retirement age raised to 75? There's only one place where the federal government could take a big step in the direction of fiscal responsibility without causing any suffering or harm -- eliminating Social Security, military and government-employee pension payments to the well-off. Senator McCain: How about setting a good example by tearing up those checks?

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