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Archive for May 19th, 2011

I’ve had dozens of posts about overpaid bureaucrats. Indeed, I’ve largely stopped blogging about the topic because it is so depressing to constantly be reminded about how a privileged class of people is manipulating the system to coercively obtain undeserved compensation from their less-fortunate neighbors.

But every so often I see a story which cries out for attention. Bloomberg has a report about a double-dipping bureaucrat who has managed to snag a position providing more than $200K per year while simultaneously ripping off taxpayers for a pension of more than $300K per year.

In a perverse way, I admire Mr. Hunderfund. I never would have thought a bureaucrat could figure out how to scam taxpayers for more than half a million dollars in one year. And for a job that probably shouldn’t even exist.

James Hunderfund, who earns at least $225,000 a year as a school superintendent on Long Island, is also entitled to a $316,245 annual pension from a previous administrative post, according to a compilation of pension data by the Empire Center for New York State Policy. Hunderfund retired in 2006 as superintendent of the Commack school district, also on Long Island. His current contract with Malverne stipulates that he receive an annual salary of no less than $225,000 through June 30, according to Empire’s report, which used a database from the New York State Teachers Retirement System.

The story also notes that there are more than 1,000 other edu-crats who are getting six-figure retirement packages.

The only other issue to address is whether we should be more upset by Mr. Hunderfund’s bloated salary of his obscene pension.

I think the pension is more outrageous, but I’m open to other opinions. Any thoughts?

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I wrote yesterday about the shocking case of a millionaire collecting food stamps. Today, I have an equally disgusting story of government waste.

The Social Security program is actuarially bankrupt, with unfunded liabilities of several trillion dollars. Our topic today deals with the disability portion of Social Security, which is in especially poor shape, with untold numbers of people faking illness in order to scam permanent payments – beginning in some cases decades before retirement age.

I’ve actually shared jokes about this phenomenon (see here and here), but this is no laughing matter.

The latest outrage is a 30-year old man who pretends to be an infant, and his roommate, who pretends to be his mother. I don’t care that he wears diapers and she changes them. I don’t care that he weighs 350 pounds. I wouldn’t care if I found out that they have sex with turtles and eat horse manure. As a libertarian, I genuinely believe people should be free to do anything that doesn’t infringe on the rights of others.

But I care very much that they are scamming taxpayers. In a typical display of government incompetence, both of them have convinced the Social Security Administration to give them disability payments.

Here are some of the key details from the Washington Times expose, including an effort by Senator Coburn to end the ripoff.

Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican and the Senate’s top waste-watcher, asked the agency’s inspector general to look into 30-year-old Stanley Thornton Jr. and his roommate, Sandra Dias, who acts as his “mother,” saying it’s not clear why they are collecting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits instead of working. “Given that Mr. Thornton is able to determine what is appropriate attire and actions in public, drive himself to complete errands, design and custom-make baby furniture to support a 350-pound adult and run an Internet support group, it is possible that he has been improperly collecting disability benefits for a period of time,” Mr. Coburn wrote in a letter Monday to Inspector General Patrick P. O’Carroll Jr.

The sorry excuse for a human being, otherwise known as Mr. Thornton, responded to Senator Coburn’s letter with a perverse form of moral blackmail.

In an email response to The Washington Times, Mr. Thornton threatened to kill himself if his Social Security payments are taken away, and said the television episode showing him doing woodwork oversold his abilities. “You wanna test how damn serious I am about leaving this world, screw with my check that pays for this apartment and food. Try it. See how serious I am. I don’t care,” the California man said. “I have no problem killing myself. Take away the last thing keeping me here, and see what happens. Next time you see me on the news, it will be me in a body bag.”

My immediate reaction is not very charitable, involving a combination of the f-word with “go” and “yourself.” As I calm down and think about it, I hope that both of these people have friends and family who can help them return to normal life.

But I also know that Mr. Thornton and his partner should no longer be allowed to mooch off taxpayers.

P.S. Senator Coburn also should demand that the SSA track down the bureaucrat(s) that approved the disability payments and have him/her/them fired.

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