How To End Double Dipping

By Murray Sabrin

Editorial writers and good government types are foaming at the mouth because both Republicans and Democrats are collecting pensions while they are working in new government positions.  Who would have guessed that members of the political elite would rip off (legally, of course) taxpayers? 

Over the years, editorial writers have endorsed big government candidates from both major political parties because the political hustlers expressed “compassion” (financed with taxpayers’ money, of course) for the poor, elderly, et.al.  In other words, they epitomize “phony” philanthropy.  And how have the welfare statists repaid taxpayers?  By engaging in a legal but cheesy practice—retiring from one government job and collecting a paycheck from another. 

The solution is simple:  end pensions and health benefits for all elected officials.  This would end double dipping once-and-for all.  During this transition, public officials would have to fund their own pensions and health care needs out of their own incomes.  This “reform” would work as follows.  Salaries of all state, county and local government official would be increased (or not) to account for all the benefits the state, county and local governments now pay. 

In the future, if a person retires from say being a local police chief and then is elected county sheriff, there would be no double dipping because he would be using his savings from his first job plus the income from his new job to pay for living expenses.  In short, no more double dipping for elected officials in New Jersey. 

There is absolutely no reason retirement income and medical benefits should be tied to employment.  Every adult should take responsibility for his or her life.  That means planning for all stages of life including retirement.  However, in our collectivist, welfare state culture, the most disingenuous words are:  “I’m from the government and I am here to help you.”  Or, “I work for the government and I really care about taxpayers.”  

The reason state and local governments have a collective $3.5 trillion underfunded pension and health care liability is because politicians have not been funding the retirement plans and promised health care benefits of workers.  In short, politicians from both political parties have been–to put it mildly–poor stewards of taxpayers’ money.

The evidence is overwhelming.  Politicians cannot be trusted with the people’s money.  We need to downsize, not reform, all levels of government.  The welfare state, redistribution of income chickens are coming home to roost.   The worst of the ongoing financial crisis is yet to come. 

Murray Sabrin is professor of finance at Ramapo College and blogs at www.MurraySabrin.com

Posted: April 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Pensions | Tags: , , | 3 Comments »

3 Comments on “How To End Double Dipping”

  1. James Hogan said at 11:49 am on April 8th, 2011:

    Hey Murray… I agree… but don’t just blame the politicians.

    I know a few people who WERE government employees for years working at Ft. Monmouth. They “retired” on Friday and started collecting their pensions/benefits. They went back to work Monday morning as “private civilian contractors” doing the exact same job with a slightly different title. Now that the fort is mostly all moved out, those people were laid off from their private jobs… and have applied for, and receive, unemployment benefits. That is double dipping in my book. And if the people are doing it, it’s no surprise to me that the ones they’ve elect are doing it. It’s the same problem with out of touch teachers unions spending money to get out of touch Democrats elected who get teachers more out of touch who lead Democrats to be even more out of touch, and so on.

    And as I’ve said before… we all know a guy who also made some big donations to his church, at least according to the forms he filed with the IRS. And if that guy is cheating the system, and voting, its no wonder the guy he is voting for is cheating the system too.

    As a strictly private sector worker, I’m offended… but not surprised when I hear of/see people cheating the system. It’s why I stand on the side you talk about – end all of the perks, right down to the printing of a business card, for all government jobs.

    … but maybe I’m also thinking emotionally about the issue and not being entirely reasonable or rational, because I’m mad at the double dippers.

  2. Middletown Conservative said at 1:55 pm on April 8th, 2011:

    I agree that elected politicians should not get a pension. The problem in NJ will never be solved because our elected official’s first priority is to protect their own pensions. Next time one of these part-time legislators at all levels, state, county and local, talk about fixing the system, ask them if they are in the pension system.

  3. Homeschool students enjoy trip to Colorado Capitol | The Spot … | Home Schooling said at 11:11 pm on April 8th, 2011:

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