“Collins rejects pay during shut down,” declared a headline on the front page of the Daily Messenger on Jan. 10.

One’s first reaction may have been, “What a noble, selfless act.” But let’s not be fooled. Chris Collins is one of the richest members of Congress with an estimated net worth of between $43 million and $60 million! His congressional salary of approximately $174,000 is chicken feed to him.

Let’s put the situation into perspective. For convenience sake, let’s say Collins’ net worth is on the low end of the estimates — $43 million. At 68 years of age he would be expected to live another 10 years based on the average male life span in the U.S. Since he certainly has access to superior health care, let’s give him an extra 10 years and say he’ll live to be 88.

If he chooses to stop earning and just consume his net worth, he would have $2.15 million annually to live on. But a business man doesn’t put his millions under his mattress. He invests. Assume he sticks with very conservative investments, CDs, a source of modest earnings without risk. A decent rate of return for FDIC-insured CDs currently is 2.5 percent. $40 million, allowing for $3 million of assets in his residence(s), invested in CDs would return $1 million annually. Certainly the congressman could make due with an income of $1 million annually.

Think about 1 million smackeroos. The average per capita income in New York state in 2017 was a little over $37,000. In other words, a New Yorker earning this average wage would have to work about 27 years to earn that same $1 million Collins can glean annually from investing his fortune in CDs and not working at all.

I guess giving up a portion of his congressional salary isn’t really much of a hardship for Collins and probably not worth much admiration from you, the reader, either.

Patricia Neprud-Mehls

Canandaigua