In our opinion: Change political pensions based on principle, not partisanship

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  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    May 18, 2017 3:08 a.m.

    Commenters, 90% of the time I am not allowed to make comment. Should this comment be allowed to post I will be shocked.

    Racism and Party are two of the most disgusting words I can think of. The dismantling of all things Obama is racist and is Party loyalty. No consideration for the people when the Obama name is stamped on it.

    From the Bears Ears to the ACA, Republicans hate every thing Obama has done. They fight his every move and destroyed his every attempt to create jobs and better the country.

    Attacking Obama as a private citizen and wanting to take away is pension is racist and party loyalty. Nothing more but pure hatred for the man.

    I am a 6'1" white guy with a very Hispanic name. You cannot tell me racism does not exist. I have very much seen it and lived it.

  • Bob K Davis, CA
    May 17, 2017 10:14 p.m.

    Nice, but very biased. I was tempted to write "No wonder the article is unsigned"
    Just a brief reply:
    Harry Truman was a haberdasher with no colllege education, and part of his public persona was to be folksy and humble. He was great! He also was from the Depression generation.
    The Obamas are top of their class Harvard lawyers. They gave up a lot of high income for public service (in Michelle's case, she stopped working), so why can't they catch up with their million-dollar income classmates? Moreover, they are quite charitable.

  • David Centerville, UT
    May 17, 2017 4:58 p.m.


    Obama detested corporate profit levels, but what could he do about it? With a Republican Congress he would have been hard pressed to get the tax increases on the wealthy that he dreamed about.

    Both parties should be obsessed about leaks and government surveilance, but certainly a big government liberal would want greater control of the economy and the government and Americans lives.

    Regarding drug policy--once again that is a Congressional domain. Obama and his DOJ would have loved to change (social justice) drug laws. His DOJ did not prosecute drugs, but allowed states to legalize marijuana--not challenging these laws in court (but Obama certainly challenged any state law supporting religious liberties and Obamacare).

    The ACA was proposed by Republicans in the 90's but by the 21st century Government run healthcare was largely rejected by Republicans. Romney's efforts in staunch liberal Massachusetts being the only exception. An ACA is not a Republican goal and this position has nothing to do with racism or Obama. Republicans opposed to the ACA is a position based upon budgetary, small government and individual freedom principles.

  • Spangs Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2017 9:30 a.m.

    David wrote:
    "You should know that many, if not most Republicans, opposed Obama not based upon race, but based upon his politics. He was politically opposite of what conservatives stand for."

    Really? In looking at his legacy, he was a right-leaning moderate. His degree of liberalism was similar to Richard Nixon's, who was described as a liberal Republican. How can that be?
    1. He was hawkish on foreign policy (even getting an endorsement from Ann Coulter).
    2. Tax cuts made up 35 percent of the budgetary cost of Obama's stimulus bill—$291 billion
    likely similar to what we would have expected from John McCain.
    3.He cut the budget deficit by 65%
    4. He passed the ACA, textbook Republican health policy
    5. He continued harsh anti-drug policies
    6. Pushed an increase in government surveillance and was obsessed about leaks
    7. Established economic policies that resulted in record corporate profits and record stock market levels.

    All of that makes him sound like a great Republican. As a liberal, I wasn't too disappointed we didn't elect Hilary Clinton. She would have been a great Republican as well.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 17, 2017 9:12 a.m.

    @LOU "Sure spells racism to me!"

    I think it's sort of funny when someone *originates* the topic of race in order to accuse others of racism. Lou, the rest of us were talking about policy.

  • David Centerville, UT
    May 16, 2017 11:32 p.m.


    I am a registered Republican, though I did not vote Republican in the last presidential election. You should know that many, if not most Republicans, opposed Obama not based upon race, but based upon his politics. He was politically opposite of what conservatives stand for.

    Can you understand that? It doesn't matter the skin color. It is the political position.

    If Condolesa Rice were president, would you oppose her because she is female and black. Or would it be based upon her politics?

    I am sure your opposition to a President Rice would be based upon politics.

    So too was Republican opposition to President Obama.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    May 16, 2017 10:39 p.m.

    @cmsense "Give former Presidents their pensions. They earned it. Same with congressman."

    And give the rank-and-file people of this country pensions! It's the only way retirement works in this system.

  • scrappy do DRAPER, UT
    May 16, 2017 9:20 p.m.

    Just scrap them altogether
    Crooks should not get pensions

  • cmsense Kaysville, UT
    May 16, 2017 9:16 p.m.

    Give former Presidents their pensions. They earned it. Same with congressman.

    So is Chaffetz planning on donating his pension back to the government once he starts working for Fox News?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 16, 2017 4:49 p.m.

    "In recent decades, this kind of high-minded moral stance has become increasingly passÉ."

    A notable exception to this has been the Bush family. I know many didn't like their politics, but both father and son have treated their former position with respect, and have not abused the access and power of that office after they left office. They have moved aside and allowed those who follow to lead without the shadow of their presidency over head.

    Good opinion piece. We need more based on policy rather than partisanship.

  • KJR Sequim, WA
    May 16, 2017 2:55 p.m.

    The pension is justified and former presidents should be free to earn further money by working or practicing a profession. Large sums that they obtain -- only -- because they held the office are a different matter. In my opinion, speaking fees, BOD seats, and the like should probably be subject to a different tax structure with a rapidly accelerating marginal rates.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    May 16, 2017 2:37 p.m.

    Whose business is it what a former president does to earn money? He earned a pension by law, didn't he? Do we live in a free market or not?

    I wonder if Jason Chaffetz proposes to claw back Reagan's pension.... No, I don't wonder after all....

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    May 16, 2017 2:25 p.m.

    A good, well balanced editorial. Thank you.

  • UtahTroutStalker Draper, UT
    May 16, 2017 1:24 p.m.

    "We recognize that it is next to impossible to remove partisan politics from this discussion, or indeed any other discussion in Washington,"

    Well if we the constituents demand that our elected representatives work together that would be a good start.

    Unfortunately, constituencies are becoming more like their elected officials of late. Party over common sense and what is good for all.

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    May 16, 2017 12:58 p.m.

    And in the Oval Office sits Donald J. Trump and his family members who are twisting the laws, making third world business deals and selling neck ties and that is just "A-OK" with the GOP.

    When a person leaves a job, he is ENTITLED to his retirement! What he does after is his business.

    Just because they hate Obama (our first Black American President) they want to strip from him all they can. Sure spells racism to me!

    Good-grief is there no end to the double standards of the GOP!

  • MBB Salt Lake City, UT
    May 16, 2017 10:18 a.m.

    Pensions should be taken away for all of them. They are already reaping benefits just by the connections they make through their service. Most of them go on to jobs on company boards and/or lobbying firms.

  • Husker1 Northern Utah County, UT
    May 16, 2017 10:02 a.m.

    @squirt "Have to wonder why this issue is being raised with President Obama but silence followed former Presidents doing this exact same thing."

    What?? The issue of pay and benefits for the President and Congress have been a hot topic for decades. It's ridiculous that military members typically (there are rare exceptions) have to serve at least 20 years to get their retirement while the President and Congress reap huge benefits for far less time of service to the country.

  • There You Go Again St George, UT
    May 16, 2017 9:30 a.m.

    This op-ed would be believable if it had been issued during the reign of Bush 2 or some other notable re-Publican.

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    May 16, 2017 9:17 a.m.

    "Former presidents and politicians who have served honorably deserve to live in dignity,..."

    One President's "dignity" is another President's struggle, as in one man's trash is another man's treasure. Greed is rampant, apparently. Maintaining that lavish life style is paramount.

    @Esquire...I understand some years ago the pension for a member of the House serving only 2 years was a minimum $150,000, plus health care benefits. How many average citizens could live comfortably off that? Yet can you imagine what it must be like for these high-rolling types that have millions to be offered a mere 3 or 4 hundred thousand a year to survive? After spending billions every session they have lost all concept of the value of money and how difficult it is to earn it. You'd think they were professional athletes or something.

  • The True Open Minded Mormon Draper, UT
    May 16, 2017 9:16 a.m.

    Get rid of all of their pensions. It's a service not a career full of cash. Once they are done with their term they can go back to the private sector and earn an income.

    The largess off the public trough needs to be shut down for all of them.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    May 16, 2017 8:17 a.m.

    I don't mind Presidential pensions, nor do I mind what a former President chooses to do after serving. I do mind the hypocrisy of Members of Congress who are entitled to a pension after only 5 years of service then attacking President Obama for doing what they will do and what people in both parties have done for a very long time.

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    May 16, 2017 8:09 a.m.

    Means testing.
    An interesting concept.
    Should Social Security pension payments be means tested?
    Some politicians feel just because you have been successful your social security pension payments should be reduced?
    What do you think ?

  • squirt Taylorsville, ut
    May 16, 2017 8:11 a.m.

    Presidents earn a pension. What they do to add to their income should not be a concern to anyone. Have to wonder why this issue is being raised with President Obama but silence followed former Presidents doing this exact same thing.