Rick Perry has done something his opponents have been hoping he’d do for years: retire. But it’s not what the governor’s detractors had in mind.
Perry officially retired in January so he could start collecting his lucrative pension benefits early, but he still gets to collect his salary — and has in turn dramatically boosted his take-home pay.
Perry makes a $150,000 annual gross salary as Texas governor. Now, thanks to his early retirement, Perry, 61, gets a monthly retirement annuity of $7,698 before taxes, or $6,588 net. That raises his gross annual salary to more than $240,000.
On a swing through Cherokee, Iowa, Perry was asked why the Employee Retirement System should be paying his retirement while he’s still collecting a salary.
“That’s been in place for decades. … I don’t find that to be out of the ordinary,” Perry said. “ERS called me and said, ‘Listen, you’re eligible to access your retirement now with your military time and your time and service, and I think you would be rather foolish to not access what you’ve earned.’”
Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan said the governor’s early collection of his pension benefits is “consistent with Texas state law and Employee Retirement System rules.”
Allahpundit is displeased:
He “retired” back in January, months before he decided to run for president. Had he known he was going to jump in and take withering fire from Romney on his entitlements rhetoric, I assume he’d have waited to start collecting. But it is what it is, and it’ll be thrown in his face every time the subject of Medicare or Social Security reform comes up. I don’t blame him for his logic: He paid in, he worked hard, he followed the rules, and now he wants his money. Problem is, that’s the same attitude seniors take towards federal entitlements, and if Perry beats Obama, he’ll suddenly be the guy tasked with convincing them to relax that attitude a bit in the name of our common fiscal good. How does he rally them to take one for the team and wait until, say, age 68 to enroll in Medicare if he couldn’t wait until finishing his term as governor to start taking his own pension?
You know what? It does open one up to attack for participating in a system one might eventually want to alter.
But by the same token, “conservatives” are open to–and often suffer–attacks from big government revolutionaries because the conservatives sometimes participate in big government programs. Follow the logic here:
- Receive welfare benefits but oppose welfare? Hypocrite! Yes, government checks covered my expenses in the early 1980s when I lived in the housing projects, and I ate the government cheese. In my defense, I was a minor and not responsible for the situation.
- Take government help for college but think the program might deserve reconsideration? Hypocrite!
- Receive retirement or death benefits from the estate of a Federal employee but think they might get too many benefits? Hypocrite! My mother was a long-time Federal employee, and after she passed, I got a couple checks as part of her retirement death benefit.
- Take tax credits but oppose the stimulus? HYPOCRITE!!! Although, in my defense, I did not end up taking stimulus money for my washing machine because it seemed a bother to fill out the paperwork.
- Go to public schools, but think too much is spent on them? Hypocrite!
- Eat agricultural products, but oppose agricultural subsidies? Hypocrite! Actually, I’m not sure how that would follow, but you can bet the charge would follow.
- Drive on public roads, but think billions of dollars in Federal spending in omnibus transportation bills is a bad idea? Hypocrite!
- Obey the law of gravity, but think space travel is vital? Hypocrite! Okay, I’m tripping into ad absurdum with the list here, but the illogic is very similar.
Frankly, I must be the walkingest hypcrite there is. I believe that the Federal government is large, but welfare fed me, government checks fed me, then Pell Grants educated me, and I claim deductions of any sort on my annual tax returns, I must hate myself or something.
Instead of merely being part of the system I’d like to change for the better.