The Government Employee Scandal

Monday, 05 Mar 2012 05:22 PM

By Wayne Allyn Root

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How would you like to retire with $6 million? $8 million? $10 million? All you have to do is become a government employee to hit the jackpot.

You don’t believe me? Do the math. I recently talked with a retired New York City toll taker. His salary averaged about $70,000 per year over 20 years. But in his last few years he worked loads of overtime and added in accumulated sick days to get his salary in those final years up to $150,000. His pension is based on his final years' salary.

This is a common pension-padding ploy.

This retired toll taker will now get a taxpayer-funded pension of $120,000 a year for the rest of his life. He’s only 50 years old. The average 50-year-old male has a life expectancy of almost 80. With automatic cost-of-living increases, that’s a bill to taxpayers of $5 million for the next 30 years — for not working. Three times what he earned while working!

But here's a frightening question: What if he lives to 90? Or 100? His pension could rise to $6 million or $8 million or higher.

Multiply this times 21 million government employees (on the federal, state, and local level) and you now get a sense of one of the biggest spending problems bankrupting America.

President Barack Obama constantly boasts that he has "saved" government employee jobs. Well that's not a positive. It's a negative. Every government job you saved costs taxpayers millions in bloated salary, obscene pension, and free healthcare for life.

Are these stories the exception, rather than the rule?

Over 77,000 federal government employees earned more than the governor of their state.

On the federal level, it was just reported by USA Today that the average federal civil servant compensation is $123,049 per year. That’s more than double what private-sector workers earn (average of $61,051).

Since 2000, federal government employee compensation has grown by 36.9 percent versus 8.8 percent for private-sector employees.

But it's at the state and local level that the worst problem exists.

In Las Vegas (Clark County) the average firefighter earns $199,678 per year. When he retires at age 45 or 50, we owe his pension for life. But here’s the clincher — when he finally dies, the taxpayer has to continue paying the pension to his spouse. Add up the damage to the economy. It is catastrophic. Talk about a 1 percenter — a single firefighter could retire with $8 to $10 million for not working for the rest of his life. This is madness.

Now I agree that policemen and firefighters are heroes. But should all heroes retire on 6-figure pensions, paid by taxpayers? It would be nice if they could, but it's unaffordable. It will bankrupt a nation. Ask Greece. Or ask California.

But the reality is that police and firemen make up a small portion of government employees. Recent studies prove the average janitor that works for government makes over $600,000 more in his career than a private-sector janitor. Are janitors heroes too? This goes on at every level of government.

The Las Vegas Review Journal had three stories in one day recently that sums up this national outrage.

Let’s start with the Las Vegas teachers union. It was reported that more than a third of the union’s entire $4.1 million annual budget went to pay just nine union leaders (http://www.lvrj.com/news/leaders-of-clark-county-teachers-union-see-big-jump-in-pay-140472673.html). The Teachers Union Executive Director received $632,546, while the CEO of the union-created Teachers Health Trust was paid $546,133. So next time you hear educators scream “it’s for the kids,” you’ll know the truth. It's for the unions.

Article number two was about those highly paid Las Vegas firefighters. It turns out they weren’t satisfied with making almost $200,000 per year. They also abused sick leave, rigged work schedules to pump up their pensions, and appear to have engaged in widespread disability fraud (www.lvrj.com/opinion/firefighters-gamed-the-system-again-140473303.html). Do you understand this kind of abuse is going on across America?

Article number three was about a now-retired Las Vegas homicide detective and possible police brutality (www.lvrj.com/news/retired-lieutenant-demands-inquiry-into-las-vegas-police-shootings-140467923.html). It had nothing to do with pensions. But interestingly, the retired homicide detective they quote in the story is 47 years old. He’s 47 and already retired? Want to bet that you and I are on the hook for $5 million to $10 million in pension and health benefits from now until the day he dies — for not working.

These aren't CEO types. These are average government employees retiring with the equivalent of $5 to $10 million. Do you know any small-business owners who retire with $5 to $10 million? They are few and far between. But that’s exactly what a private-sector employee would need in the bank on the day of his or her retirement to match the $100,000 per year pensions (plus healthcare benefits and cost-of-living increases) of government employees paid out over 30 to 50 years.

Keep in mind that government employees never risk a dollar of their own money. They have lifetime job security. And they rarely work beyond 9 to 5, let alone weekends or holidays.

Yet government employees are paid millions by taxpayers to retire early, often on pensions fattened by gaming the corrupt system. This is a national disgrace that is bankrupting America.

This is the scandal that makes Bernie Madoff look like a small-time crook.

Wayne Allyn Root is a former Libertarian vice presidential nominee. He now serves as Chairman of the Libertarian National Campaign Committee. Read more reports from Wayne Allyn Root — Click Here Now.





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