Mitt Romney has chosen Wisconsin Representative and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, the architect of a plan to gut the pension rights of railroad workers, as his running mate. Ryan is the author and primary sponsor of the so-called Ryan Budget plan (Path to Prosperity), which was passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year.
The peril to the pension rights of railroad workers is laid out on page 101 of House Report No. 112-421 that accompanied the measure, under the heading of "Conform Railroad Retirement Tier 1 Benefits to Social Security Benefits."
That proposal would have the following disastrous effects for railroad workers, their spouses and dependents: -- it would eliminate the "60/30" provision that allows railroad employees to retire with full benefits at 60 years of age with 30 years of service; -- it would eliminate the Railroad Retirement Occupational disability program for rail workers who can no longer perform their railroad duties due to disability; FELA -- it would increase the minimum retirement age for railroad employees to 62 years of age with a reduction in benefits; -- it would increase the minimum age for spousal annuities with a reduction in benefits; and -- it would increase the annual out-of-pocket medical costs paid by railroad retirees and cause the costs of railroad retiree health insurance under GA-46000 to soar.
On March 20, while stumping in Chicago, Romney said "I'm very supportive of the Ryan budget plan. It's a bold and exciting effort on his part and on the part of the Republicans and it's very much consistent with what I put out earlier. ...I applaud it. It's an excellent piece of work and very much needed."
More recently, he vowed that, if he were President he would have signed the Ryan Budget if it had crossed his desk. Congressman Smith, Senator Johanns, Deb Fischer, all support the Romney/Ryan ticket.
Terry Sigler, UTU alumni, North Platte