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October 19, 2012
Morning Journal News


Everyone has heard of embezzlement cases involving people that we have empowered to take care of certain funds for schools, social clubs, booster clubs, athletic organizations, etc. These are such sad stories and also such surprising stories because of the initial shock about learning of this activity. But what if the theft is attempted right in front of your own eyes, in broad daylight, and by your own congressman?

In late March, House Republicans, including William Johnson, voted to approve Paul Ryan's bill to eliminate railroad retirement benefits and supposedly save the taxpayers $2 billion over 10 years.

This statement is inaccurate and untrue. The bill was an attempt to salvage our sinking Social Security plan.

Railroad retirement is a two-tier level of payments, funded entirely by railroad employees and employers; not the U.S. taxpayer. Tier one represents the same percentage as Social Security, and tier two, which is above the Social Security level, is funded solely by the employees and employers.

No government funds are used for this tier two level. Nothing from the taxpayers. Railroad employees receive more in retirement benefits because we invest more into our retirement program than those who just pay into Social Security.

My question is this: Why did Congress think that they had any right to our pension fund at all? It is a private pension fund, receives not one penny from the federal government, and remains financially sound. This has no bearing on the current debt crisis in the USA. It is a mystery why 228 Republicans in the U.S. House voted to destroy the railroad retirement pension; including Bill Johnson.

An e-mail to Bill Johnson inquiring as to why he supported such blatant theft went unanswered. He was asked who contributes to his salary and his pension and if he wanted his pension fund to diminish and/or disappear.

In Congress wishes to fix Social Security, could they not use their own pension plan to do this? Maybe they could donate a portion of their salary also. In the meantime, I thought about taking my railroad retirement funds and hiding them in my mattress, but if Paul Ryan and Bill Johnson have their way, I might end up sleeping on the floor.

Doug Walker

East Palestine



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