- The Washington Times - Monday, June 17, 2013

The recent revelations concerning IRS abuses of power are somewhat petty compared with some things they have done in the past, such as the theft of private employee-retirement benefits. This can happen whenever the IRS approves changes to private retirement plans that eliminate vested benefits earned by the employees of government contractors.

Such changes can result in substantial excess funding for the retirement plan that, consequently, prevents the contractor from billing the government for any additional retirement benefits earned, until the excess is used up. The benefactor of the surplus funding is the U.S. Treasury. If the changes had been disallowed, the excess wouldn’t exist, and the government would have had to pay the benefit costs that were paid for with the excess.

The benefit to the government contractor is a competitive edge where labor rates are bid, a common practice for Department of Defense engineering-support contracts.

For obvious reasons, any vested benefit loss must be hidden from the affected employees. In my case, my employer simply provided false retirement-benefit statements until I was laid off at age 54 after 33 years of service, and subsequently given an amended benefit statement showing greatly reduced retirement benefits.

Although this occurred 20 years ago and after much effort, I have given up any hope of recovering my lost benefits, I feel obligated to make this known to the public in light of the current IRS abuses. In my experience, all other government agencies I dealt with seem to fear them, and it is too costly a legal battle for a private individual of ordinary means to fight them in court. Something must be done.

LESTER VIA

Springfield