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 »

Beck, Oroho Submit Legislation to Stop Simultaneous Collection of Pensions, Public Paychecks

Trenton— Senators Jennifer Beck (R- Monmouth/Mercer) and Steve Oroho (R- Sussex/Hunterdon/Morris) have submitted legislation aimed at ending abuse of the state’s pension system. The bill, S-2716, would prohibit retired public employees that return to government service from collecting pension payments while on payroll.

“Pension payments should only be collected by those who have left the government payroll,” said Senator Beck. “Public employees who game the system by collecting a paycheck and a pension check simultaneously commit the worst kind of double dipping. New Jersey’s taxpayers are tapped out, our pension system woefully underfunded, and neither can tolerate this sort of abuse. Nobody should be able to line their pockets in this manner at public expense.”

The bill prohibits any public employee in the state retirement system from collecting a pension if he or she resumes public employment and is compensated more than $15, 000 annually. Those returning to service after retirement would not accumulate additional pension credits. The bill applies to all state pension plans.

“We must protect New Jersey’s pension systems and it is critically important that we protect the qualified status of those pensions, as well as end any unnecessary strains on the funds,” Oroho added. “There are a variety of good reasons retirees may wish to return to the workforce. However, for the purposes of collecting a pension, and to protect the qualified status of the plans, retired means retired.”

Posted: March 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Jennifer Beck, Pensions, Press Release | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments »