Don’t You Feel Sorry For These Poor, Retiring Government Workers?

The slant of the this Wall Street Journal article is the trade off between the cost savings of replacing retiring public employees with cheaper hirees and the difficulties that may be caused by losing talented people. Obviously, this is a bit of a false dilemma in that if these people were all that talented and difficult to replace, they wouldn’t be working for the government anyway.

However, what really stands out as you read the piece is all the government drones who are getting ready to retire early on the taxpayers’ dime.

Among Wisconsin public employees filing for retirement are Mary and Len Herricks, both teachers in Oshkosh. They put in their papers in mid-March after lawmakers voted to rein in most public-employee collective-bargaining rights.

“Not only am I losing salary and benefits and facing a bigger work load, but now they are taking away my rights,” says Ms. Herricks, a 56-year-old elementary school teacher. A teacher for 35 years who earns in the high 50s, Ms Herricks can now retire and collect nearly her former salary. “Retirement was supposed to be something happy. I’m so sad.”

…In California, Guy Harris recently retired at 50 years old because he feared he would otherwise lose benefits he says he has counted on since joining the state transportation department 27 years ago as a civil engineer.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if they change the rules and say you can’t retire before 55,” he says. “I didn’t want to get stuck.”

He was earning about $9,000 per month and will collect about a third of that as a retiree. Plus, he has been hired back as a consultant, and is working on his own walnut farm.

Isn’t there just a pool of tears at your feet because you’re so sorry for poor, poor Len Herricks has to retire at 56 with almost her full salary? Put another way, Len Herricks is probably going to collect roughly a million dollars over the remainder of her life on the taxpayer’s dime and we’re supposed to fell sorry for her. Then there’s Guy Harris who’s retiring at 50 because, horror of horrors, the rules might change and he might not be able to retire until the ripe old age of 55.

There was a never a time when these sort of sweetheart deals made sense, but at a time when we’re running huge deficits, this is just insanity.

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