One of Waukegan native son Jack Benny's most famous jokes was that he was perpetually celebrating his 39th birthday. Year after year, he never got any older.
Later on, after his long-running radio and TV program had ended, Jack Benny's First Farewell Special aired and the running gag was that this would be the first of many farewell shows for a man who planned to keep on retiring for a good long while.
The reason he could keep retiring, over and over again, was because he had never really retired in the first place.
Maybe this is where so many Illinois public officials got the idea-- the idea that they can retire and keep on working, enjoying the benefits of retirement and the benefits of full-time employment at the same time, at our expense.
For Jack, it was a joke, and the joke was on him. For Illinois pols, it's still a joke, but the joke's on us, the Illinois taxpayers financing their simultaneous employment and retirement.
It's not a funny joke, but listen to it, anyway.
State Sen. William Haine's salary is $76,366.08, plus a $5,653 stipend, but he “earns” $230,823 a year, thanks to an Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) pension that pays him $148,804 annually.
If he's a state senator, how can he be retired? If he's retired, how can be a state senator? Is he a state senator, or isn't he? Is he retired, or not?
You can't have it both ways, Billy boy. Or maybe you can, as long as your colleagues in “public service” are in on the scam.
And they are, too.
Madison County Circuit Clerk Mark von Nida makes $107,206 a year, plus a state stipend of $6,500. He also receives $82,113 in IMRF pension benefits annually, for a total income of $195,819.
The list goes on and on: double-dipping public employees making two to five times what their struggling, taxpaying employers make.
It’s time to wipe the smirk off the face of these political scam artists.