Getting Rich Off the Taxpayers: School Administrators Double Dipping Pensions

-By Warner Todd Huston

It must be nice to work for the government. Sadly it’s the most lucrative way to make a living in American history. To “win life’s lottery” all you have to do is get a job with the government — whether the federal or state government — at practically any level and voila, welcome to easy street. Here we have yet another case of the milking of the taxpayer by our “public servants,” this time it’s school superintendents that jump from state to state in order to double or triple their pension takings.

The Chicago Trib revealed the newest way for “public servants” to rip off the public by reporting that it has become common practice for school superintendents to “retire” from a school district in one state only to migrate to another state and take the same job in order to earn another lucrative pension. Some of these guys are making upwards to $500,000 a year off the backs of the taxpayers.

When questions over their greed are put to them these “public servants” demur from being characterized as fatcat, double dippers. They say that they are acting entirely within the law. They claim that there isn’t a single thing wrong with what they are doing. Well, maybe legally. Morally is another question.

But the thing is, strictly speaking to the letter of the law, these ripoff artists are entirely right. There is no law saying that they cannot stick their hands miles deep into the pockets of the overburdened public pension systems and grab with both fists. So, what is going on here? Well, once again, the influence of public employee unions, greedy Democrat politicians, and a wholesale disregard for fiscal responsibility and the health of the state is what is going on here. In other word, it is business as usual.

See, the problem resides a bit less with the double dipping fatcats (the moral question aside) and more with the fact that government pension rules have proclaimed that these people can “retire” at but a few years of service in the first place. Where most real workers — you know, people doing useful work in the private sector — sometimes have to work up to forty years or more in order to be afforded the luxury of retiring these state workers can retire at thirty, twenty, even fifteen years of service and often at ages as young as their late 40s or early 50s. This leaves them decades of serviceable working years to glom onto another state job and earn an entirely new and separate pension.

This would not be a problem if we were not allowing people that work for the state to “retire” as such young ages and after so few years on the job. It isn’t just school officials, either. It’s all up and down the line in state pensions. People are “retiring” only to go on to a new job, doubling pensions, and becoming quite well off. All the while, the people paying the bills are lucky if they can ever retire, working themselves into the grave so that state workers can quit working at relatively young ages and lean back enjoying life to the fullest.

The fact is that Americans are commonly living into their 80’s these day. Retiring at 50 as a state worker leaves nearly half a lifetime to work other jobs or enjoy lives of leisure and this must stop. The taxpayers cannot afford the lifestyles of the rich yet not so famous folks that work for the state for a few years then retire to their own personal Midas mines of wealth!

It’s time that voters rise up, throw out of office these politicians that work hand-in-glove with the public employees unions and pension plans, and begin to right this ship of fools.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

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