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06

It’s an incurable vice: Railroad tycoons did it in the Gilded Age and over a century later Wall Street bankers did it, reaching into the government treasury to bail out their bad loans (with other people’s money) and the ‘grabbers’ don’t always live on Wall Street.

Take fringe benefits. For government employees. Right now a state employee can retire and start receiving part of his pension after working 20 years. Or he can wait 10 more years and draw his full pension. And, either way, the state will pay for his health insurance as long as he lives. He can retire at 50, take a job with a private corporation and the state will go right on paying his pension and paying for his health insurance.

How much does it cost? Right now, the State Pension Fund and State Health Care Fund are $60 billion in debt – a problem politicians, being politicians, have turned a blind eye to for years.

Then, at last, State Senator Andy Wells and State Treasurer Dale Folwell tried to fix the problem. How did that work out? Getting politicians to say no to people reaching into the Treasury is a tall order. Wells and Folwell tried but, so far, the grab’s still on.

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