The corruption of public "service"

"The Boston Globe recently reported that retirements are suddenly spiking at the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority. Why? Because a new law taking effect in 2009 slightly reduces benefits for workers who retire before age 65. The major change: As of next year, retirees will have to pay 15 percent of their health insurance premium. Current retirees get free healthcare for life. That's in addition to their pensions, of course. MBTA workers can retire with a full pension after just 23 years on the job, at which point they are perfectly free to find another government job and get right back on the public payroll.

Such double-dipping is common in the public sector, as are so many other lucrative perks that government employees take for granted and most private employees can only dream about. "The nation is dividing into two classes of workers: those who have government benefits and those who don't," USA Today noted in 2007. "The gap is accelerating in every way -- pensions, medical benefits, retirement ages." According to the Congressional Research Service, the pension collected by the average private-sector retiree is worth less than half of what a typical government retiree can expect. If you don't have your snout in the government trough, you can expect to work ever-longer hours and pay ever-higher taxes and fees to support those who do.

Those, to mention just a single example, like Michael Mulhern. He is the 40-something former MBTA general manager who "retired" in 2005, began collecting a $130,000 annual pension, then hired on as head of the MBTA retirement fund, a job that pays about $225,000 annually. Mulhern's total take: more than $350,000 a year. He is just one illustration of a huge problem growing more urgent by the day -- the staggering sums that taxpayers are shelling out for the care and feeding of avaricious public employees. In Massachusetts and nationwide, a backlash is coming.


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your roundup of Obama news and commentary at OBAMA WATCH

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