In yesterday's WSJ, Philip K. Howard writes
that public-union pension abuses are so common that they're taken for granted. Some examples:
1. "Spiking" union pensions with excess overtime in the last year of employment.
2. Until recently, over 90% of Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) workers retired with a disability—even those who worked desk jobs—adding about $36,000 to their annual pensions. The cost to New York taxpayers over the past decade was $300 million.
As one investigator put it, fraud of this kind "became a culture of sorts among the LIRR workers, who took to gathering in doctor's waiting rooms bragging to each [other] about their disabilities while simultaneously talking about their golf game." How could almost every employee think fraud was the right thing to do?
3. That kind of "disability abuse" is not just happening in New York - in California, 82% of senior state troopers are "disabled" in their last year before retirement.
Howard's solution? "America must bulldoze the current system and start over. Only then can we balance budgets and restore competence, dignity and purpose to public service."