Only some one with their head in the clouds would not realize that all politicians aspire to public office to better themselves. All the pious platitudes about going to Washington, DC to do good is then lost, if it ever existed, in the maelstrom of special interest lobbyists and foreigners bearing "gifts".
The average Senator is wealthy when he goes to Washington, but many middle class people who are backed by special interest groups go to the US House of Representatives. None leave without the life time benefits afforded to their elected office. High end health and dental care, a pension and whatever they can accumulate under the cover of campaign contributions. It is a given in our free enterprise system. Power corrupts,and absolute power corrupts absolutely!
But my home State is the granddaddy of all double and triple dippers in the whole of the USA! Florida has laws that allow people to collect government pensions from as many as three sources and still work in the government sector building up another pension.
Approximately 150 million Americans face the future with little or no retirement income. A majority of Americans aren't saving nearly enough for retirement -- or aren't saving anything at all. And the expenses they'll face in their later years are stagering. Not in the State of Florida if you work in one of the many state or local government positions.
Judicial Watch has an article on the web detailing the tangled mess of pension benefits involving government employeees at all levels in the state of Florida. While many states have laws prohibiting elected officials and public employees from returning to government work while drawing taxpayer-financed pensions, an epidemic of it exists in Florida where taxpayers are financing the lucrative salaries and multiple pensions of more than a thousand public servants. The" good old boy network" you see! Known as double and triple-dipping the practice is rampant in the Sunshine State where more than 1,200 former state employees collect two or more pensions and hundreds more collect at least two pensions and a salary. Nearly 200 of them get paid more than $100,000 a year on top of public retirement benefits of up to $14,000 a month. Many of them also collect a lump-sum of hundreds of thousands of dollars upon retirement.
The triple dippers include public school principals, teachers, law enforcement officers, health department employees, court clerks and dozens of other public employees throughout the state. Additionally, more than 200 elected officials and senior managers who have quietly retired actually continue working, many in the same job where they earned their pension. Because many state lawmakers benefit from this outrageous system, they aren’t motivated to pass legislation to stop it.
Many other states have made it illegal to take any public sector job in the same retirement system without forfeiting retirement benefits. In New York, for instance, public employees who retire and return to government work must forfeit their pensions during the time they get a salary. There is little hope that a similar law will pass in Florida, according to one Republican legislator who says “it’s going to be a bit of an uphill battle” because there are more “double dippers in the legislature” than anyone thought. He called the situation a mess.
No wonder we keep getting bigger and bigger government. Where else can you find the high end medical benefits and retirement with a pension at any age as long as you put in the requisite number of years? From 1957 to 2006, Florida's population increased 302%, but the number of state & local government employees increased 583%. Therefore it can be stated that there is a 357,000 employee headcount excess in Florida governments. If state and local government employees in Floirda had delivered improved productivity, as the private sector was doing, then their headcount totals (full-time equivalents) would have increased less than the state's population growth from 1957-2006. No such luck !!
So much for efficient government! The state population increased from 4.5 million to 18 million 1957-2006 (302% increase) - - But, the number of state government employees increased 517% (from 31,000 to 191,000) And, the number of local government employees increased 604% (from 96,000 to 676,000)!
Whatever the 'excuses', the facts are today's young families in Florida must carry on each of their backs many, many more government employees than did prior generations. And, government employees have job security with wages and benefits protected from inflation and better medical coverage as if it is a right - - not so with many from the private sector.
There is a lesson here!