Break the Chain Rush-ing to Conclusions

Created 10/3/2002 (7/15/2004) This chain letter begs two questions. First, did Rush Limbaugh really say this. Second, is what the letter claims true. An inability to verify its origins, coupled with the letter's inclusion of bits and pieces from earlier false chain letters cast serious shadows of doubt on it.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Check this one out its a good point of view.

By Rush Limbaugh,

I think the vast differences in compensation between the victims of the September 11th casualty, and those who die serving the country in uniform, are profound.

No one is really talking about it either because you just don't criticize anything having to do with September 11th. Well, I just can't let the numbers pass by because it says something really disturbing about the entitlement mentality of this country.

If you lost a family member in the September 11th attack, you're going to get an average of $1,185,000. The range is a minimum guarantee of $250,000, all the way up to $4.7 million.

If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in action, the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit, half of which is taxable. Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are the surviving spouse, you get $833 a month until you remarry. And there's a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those payments come to a screeching halt. Keep in mind that some of the people that are getting an average of $1.185 million up to $4.7 million are complaining that it's not enough.

We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma City bombing have started an organization asking for the same deal that the September 11th families are getting. In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for compensation as well. You see where this is going, don't you? Folks, this is part and parcel of over fifty years of entitlement politics in this country. It's just really sad.

"Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime," --Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr.

Every time when a pay raise comes up for the military they usually receive next to nothing of a raise. Now the green machine is in combat in the Middle East while their families have to survive on food stamps and live in low rent housing.

However our own US Congress just voted themselves a raise, and many of you don't know that they only have to be in Congress one-time to receive a pension that is more than $15,000 per month and most are now equal to be millionaires plus. They also do not receive Social Security on retirement because they didn't have to pay into the system.

If some of the military people stay in for 20 years and get out as an E-7 (Enlisted Sergeant equivalent) you may receive a pension of $1,000 per month, and the very people who placed you in harms way receive a pension of $15,000 per month. I would like to see our elected officials pick up a weapon and join ranks before they start cutting out benefits and lowering pay for our sons and daughters who are now fighting.

Consider this.... Our Senators/Congressmen do not pay into Social Security, and, therefore they do not collect from it. Social Security benefits were not suitable for them. They felt they should have a special plan.

Many years ago they voted in their benefit plan. In more recent years, no congress person has felt the need to change it. After all, it is a great plan. For all practical purposes, their plan works like this: When they retire no matter how long they have been in office, they continue to draw their same pay until they die, except it may be increased from time to time by the cost-of-living adjustments. For example, former Senator Bill Bradley (New Jersey) and his wife may be expected to draw $7,900,000.00 over an average life span, with Mrs. Bradley drawing $275,000.00 during the last year of her life. Their cost for this excellent plan is "0," nada, zilch.

This little perk they voted in for themselves is free to them. You and I pick up the tab for this plan. Our tax dollars at work! Social Security, which you and I pay into every payday for our own retirement, with an equal amount matched by our employer, we can expect to get an average of $1,000 per month. Or, we would have to collect our benefits for 68 years and 1 month to equal the Bradley's benefits.

Imagine for a moment that you could structure a retirement plan so desirable, a retirement plan that worked so well, that Railroad Employees, Postal Workers, and others who were not in the plan would clamor to be included. This is how good Social Security could be, if only one small change was made. That change would be to jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan out from under the Senators/Congressmen. Put them into the Social Security plan with the rest of us. Watch how fast they fix it!!!

If enough people receive this maybe a seed will be planted, and maybe good changes will evolve.

Don't forget, our girl, Hillary Rodham Clinton, thanks to the infinite wisdom of New York State voters, now comes under this Congressional Retirement Plan. Talking about the Clinton's, it's common knowledge that, in order for her to establish New York State residency, they purchased a million + house in upscale Chappaqua, NY. Makes sense. Now, they are entitled to Secret Service protection for life. Still makes sense. Here is where it becomes interesting. A residency had to be built in order to house the Secret Service agents. The Clinton's now charge the Secret Service rent for the use of said residence and that rent is just about equal to their mortgage payment, meaning that we, the tax payers, are paying the Clinton's mortgage and it's all perfectly legal.

How many people can YOU send this to?

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

David Emery, urban legends expert at About.com confirmed that Limbaugh made comments similar to the transcript above on his syndicated radio show on March 11, 2002. Several versions of this chain letter began circulating soon after.

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Everything from the Adlai Stevenson quote down, however, was not part of the original message and not written or spoken by Limbaugh. The misguided discussion of congressional pensions and the Clinton's Chappequa home are drawn from earlier bits of misinformation and was most likely added by some forwarder who felt it strengthened the argument. Interestingly, all but a few copies of the message posted on the net included this addendum.

So, is the rest of it true? According to my sources, the figures given are fairly accurate. Estimated average compensation for families of 9/11 victims ranges from $1.1 million to $1.8 million, with a cap of $4.7 million and a minimum of $250,000. A complex formula is used to calculate the exact compensation a family is entitled to, which may explain the large range in estimated averages. The military death benefit numbers given are also accurate, but ignore benefits from the Servicemen's Group Life Insurance program.

If you must forward this one, don't represent it as Limbaugh's work until some verification of this can be found. Also, don't pass on the erroneous information attached to the bottom. Better yet, don't pass any part of it on because it's all bound to become misinformation with time. Break this Chain!

What Do You Think?


References: Snopes.com, TruthOrFiction.com, About.com

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