April 18, 2024

RE: Closed pension loophole could still cost us billions

Michael Hedges says that Texas teachers ripped off Social Security.

I wrote this in response. Think they’ll print it?

Michael Hedges says that teachers ripped off Social Security. But what does he say about the systemic injustice that denies teachers, mostly women, who toiled for years at sub-market wages, the benefits of their SPOUSE’S Social Security contributions? Nothing. Way to go, Mr. Hedges. Way to stick up for the little people.

It makes sense that non-contributing teachers would have their own Social Security reduced by the amount of their Teacher Retirement System benefits. Neither they nor their employers contributed to Social Security; therefore, they do not deserve benefits from that system. This is just and correct.

However, it is unconscionable for the government to steal benefits earned by the teacher’s spouse. What does a teacher’s wife’s earnings and Social Security benefits have to do with her husband’s TRS pension? Nothing. So why is the wife’s retirement being looted by the state simply because her worked for a cheapskate school district? This is utterly wrong.

The loophole was not a secret. Neither was the fact that teachers were quitting their jobs in droves before the ne’er-do-wells in government came after their Social Security checks. In fact, I recall the Chronicle lambasting teachers on the editorial page on this very subject. Good to see that you are consistent. Sadly, you are consistently wrong.

Teachers are not to blame. If anyone is at fault in this situation it is the Texas legislature for allowing school districts to skimp on their obligations to pay into the Social Security system and provide a proper retirement benefit for teachers who were woefully underpaid while they were working for us and our children.


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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