I was delighted to see the excellent article by Spencer Rich pinpointing the excesses of the Civil Service Retirement system [front page, Feb. 19]. But Mr. Rich omitted the most glaring discrimination against the Social Security retiree.
Because of the low level of Social Security retirement benefits, many retirees are forces-to work to supplement the benefits. But if they are lucky enough to get a full-time job paying $10,000 to $15,000, thjey lose their entire Social Security pension. The law says they can earn only $4,500, without penalty. And the penalty is the loss of one dollar for each two dollars they earn above the $4,500 mark.
Moreover, this discriminatory penalty takes effect only between the ages of 65 and 72 -- the years when a retiree is most likely to be able and eager towork. After the age of 72 -- when the urge and the ability to work have declined -- the law says: "Okay, now go to it and earn all you want to."
Mr. Rich also failed to mention that most private employers, who are obliged to share the cost of the Social Security pension, figure it as part of the company-paid benefit. So they trim back the company pension accordingly.
Meanwhile, back in the government corral, the happy workers retire at 55, draw their hefty government pensions, and many get full-time jobs in private industry and continue to collect their government pensions in full, with no deductions, no penalty. This is a gross case of discrimination against the tax-paying workers in private industry, who help pay for the fancy government pension plan.