Cracking the $200,000 Club
The cost and inefficiency of government has been much in the news in recent years. Whole cities in California have bellied up when they could not meet the cost of salaries and benefits to public employees. The federal government’s Medicare program has been so abused that people now consider Medicare half a word. The other word is fraud. This has been especially embarrassing in South Florida, where the government does not catch up with scams until it is too late and the culprits have escaped to foreign lands, where most of them started out. By the time a scam is exposed and remedied, the bad guys have come up with something new to enjoy a second round of thievery. The problem is so serious that people are running for president to try to cure it.
Of course, not all of this is illegal. The pension abuses go with many jobs. Some public sector employees retire young with almost as much as they got paid. Some people game the system brilliantly, retiring with all kinds of bonuses, only to unretire a month later in a similar job, or the same job in the next town. These problems are being addressed, but not very quickly because people enjoying these perks tend to vote, and vote for people who will keep the game going.
Yesterday’s paper reports the fake accident game goes on. People driving beat-up cars deliberately create minor accidents. It happened to my daughter. A car filled with people, probably illegal, who don’t speak English, barely taps her car, which is on my insurance. Our car isn’t damaged. The other is already a wreck. Nobody hurt. Then the crooked lawyers and doctors bill insurance companies for services not needed or even rendered. This was more than 10 years ago, and the game goes on. When lawmakers shut down one scam, the same people come up with another.
There has to be a faster way to reduce government costs, and I just came up with it. The Sun-Sentinel reported Broward’s new medical examiner makes $240,000, joining the “The 200,000 Club.” Others in that club are the county administrator ($290,000), aviation director ($257,000), port director ($250,000), attorney ($240,345) and auditor (200,000). That’s well over $1 million. I propose we turn all these jobs over to my firm, McCormick, O’Goniff and Craven. It isn’t a law firm, but we can hire lawyers. They are all broke and will come cheap. I will immediately cut these county job salaries by one-third.
I realize people filling these jobs are highly skilled, but no public servant should make that kind of money. Indeed, a public servant should be just that. Work for free, but that is not realistic in this market. More realistically, I will take the aviation job for $200,000, saving the county $57,000. I know something about aviation, having once jumped out of airplanes. I also know that the Douglas A-20 Havoc ceased production on Sept. 20, 1944. I bet our director doesn’t know that. I bet he doesn’t know it was my eighth birthday, either. Anyway, I will find a highly qualified person willing to do that job for $150,000, and pocket the other $50,000.
As for county attorney, I personally know at least two who already do that kind of work. Neither has ever been indicted. I’ll bet we get them for a buck and a half, providing they can keep their day job. I’ll take $50,000 for the firm. Port director may be tougher, although I was a coxswain on my high school crew and was one of the best on the Schuylkill River until one summer I grew a foot and gained 50 pounds and the coach threw me in the back of boat and gave me an oar. That was a lifestyle change that I never got over.
But I could get over this lifestyle change pretty easily, especially if my political friends would give me a deal in which I could retire in a month, get hired back in 90 days and hire public servants all over again. This time we would work the $150,000 club. Our fees, of course, would be commensurate.