Not often I find myself agreeing with a Republican politician but good for Sen. Rick Jones for proposing a bill to have “retired legislators pay just as much for health insurance as other public employees.”
More than 220 retired state legislators, 14 current representatives and 36 senators grandfathered into a closed retirement health insurance system would have to pay 20 percent under Jones’ amended bill. [...]
“Senators should be paying 20 percent like we’re asking other public employees to do,” Jones said. “We have no right to ask retired teachers and other retired public employees to pay something that we’re not paying also.”
Of course, don’t hold your breath waiting for this to go anywhere. Jones is just one guy and he seems to be alone in seeking to put the sharing in the shared sacrifice Republicans are always demanding from everyone else:
In October, the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder approved a law ensuring all but two of the 38 senators would get lifetime health insurance at age 55 at a cost of 10 percent for premiums.
A package of House bills introduced last month also would require legislators to pay 20 percent of insurance costs while requiring lawmakers who were grandfathered into the system to contribute 5 percent of their pay toward retiree health insurance.
These same Republicans are also seeking to raise the retirement age for everyone else to 60 years old. But, as commenters to the linked article note, the real issue is, no matter what they end up paying, these legislators get the lifetime benefits after only six years of service. No other public employees get that sweet deal.
This isn’t just a Michigan issue. Or solely a Republican problem. Politicians of all parties, all over the country and in D.C. are demanding more and more sacrifice from all middle and working class Americans but they always exempt themselves from the “painful but necessary spending cuts” to cure the invented “crisis” of deficit spending. Instead they give themselves automatic COLA raises.
I can’t think of another profession that allows the workers to set their own salaries and benefits. Strikes me as very bad business model. Not sure how it could be done, but thinking we could repair much of what is broken in governance if the taxpayers were the ones to set the compensation rates.