Welfare systems always fail — illustrated

United States:
Dave Orlowski can swim 2.4 miles.
He can bike 112 miles.
He can run 26.2 miles.

In fact, the 54-year-old athlete can do all of these one right after the other - several times a year. He completed six Ironman triathlons last year, has done three so far this year and hopes to compete in yet another one in Klagenfurt, Austria, on July 4.

Orlowski can also play a round of golf, as he did recently at a fund-raiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin.

But this is something the guy won't do:
He won't work for the Milwaukee Police Department.

That's because the former homicide detective has been declared "permanently and totally incapacitated for duty."

As an injured ex-cop, Orlowski has been paid nearly $500,000 in tax-free pension checks by the city since 1999. He is currently receiving $53,063 a year from the city Employees' Retirement System, plus full health benefits.
United Kingdom
The departmental record holder is Doreen - she has worked a grand total of eight days in 14 months.

Doreen must be the unluckiest woman in the country.

In the past year and a half she claims she has: fallen victim to frostbite; been hit by a car; and accidentally set herself on fire.

But she's really pulled out all the stops with her latest excuse: witchcraft. That's right, Doreen believes somebody in Nigeria has cast a spell on her and that it would be unprofessional of her to attempt to do the job she is paid £56k a year for while under the influence of the spell.

She has already been off for four months on full pay. I've no idea how long this spell lasts, but my guessing would be six months to the day - the exact amount of time council employees can take off on full pay before their money is reduced.

Of course they have to provide sick-notes from a doctor, but as you can buy fake ones online for £10 it's never proved a problem.
Jerry is the next to arrive at 10.25am - before he takes his jacket off he performs his morning ritual of taking both his phones off the hook.

God forbid that any resident and council tax payer should be able to speak to him and get some of the advice he's paid £64k a year to dispense.

Jerry is 63 and two years from retirement. He is what is known in the civil service and local government as an 'untouchable' - he's been at the council for more than 40 years, does no work, but would cost an absolute fortune to get rid of.

So he's left alone to play online poker, Skype his daughter in Florida and take his two-hour daily snooze at his desk, no doubt dreaming of the day when his gold-plated public sector pension will kick in.

If you think Jerry's pay is generous, consider this: the head of my department is on an annual salary of £170k plus bonuses, his deputy nets £99k and even the office PAs are on a very respectable £38k - just two thousand less than I get.
UK again
June 30 (Bloomberg) -- Britain will shed 610,000 public- sector workers over the next five years as the coalition government implements the deepest spending squeeze since World War II, the country’s new fiscal watchdog said.

The state will employ 4.92 million people by April 2016 compared with 5.53 million in the current fiscal year, according to figures released today by the Office for Budget Responsibility. Total employment in the economy is forecast to rise by 1.34 million to 30.23 million.
June 30 (Bloomberg) -- Maria, a 55 year-old unemployed woman from Naples, crosses herself when asked about former Councilman Salvatore Alaio. “The man is a saint,” she said. Alaio helped her get a disability pension for blindness, even though she can see.

To Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Alaio exemplifies the corruption that’s choking Italy’s welfare system and bloating public spending.

Alaio defrauded the state of about 2 million euros ($2.5 million) from 2002 until 2009, using phony medical certificates to set up disability pensions for dozens of his Naples constituents. [...] Disability benefits from Italy’s INPS pension agency have risen to 16 billion euros a year, or 1 percentage point of gross domestic product, from 6 billion euros in 2001 when the government gave local authorities more control over health care, including the power to write checks. Fraudulent claims may be costing the country more than 2 billion euros a year, based on a government review in 2009.
On the basis of 200,000 checks carried out last year, 15 percent of the country’s existing 833,000 disability pensions have been revoked, Mastrapasqua said. An initial clampdown revealed that almost 20,000 Italians unlawfully claimed benefits in the first three months of this year, INPS said. The number of people requesting disability aid fell by about 50 percent in the first five months of 2010 from a year earlier. There were 2.5 million applicants in 2009.

By the end of 2012, 700,000 tests will be carried out on Italy’s 2.7 million certified disabled people to determine how many are entitled to state aid and disqualify fakers.

In Naples, police made almost 100 arrests in the Alaio case, busting one “blind” man found reading a newspaper at a post office and another driving a car. In a separate case, Naples police detained 400 people for fraudulently collecting schizophrenia benefits.

“We’ve barely scratched the surface,” said Scarabello, the officer who led the Alaio investigation.
June 29 (Bloomberg) About 15,000 protesters marched through Athens today as Greek unions staged their fifth general strike of the year to challenge government plans to cut pension benefits and loosen labor laws.

The walkout halted state services including public transport and tax offices and disrupted some hospitals. The 24- hour stoppage hit ferry lines at Piraeus, Greece’s largest port, as the Panhellenic Union of Merchant Marine Engineers demanded changes to “anti-social measures.”
Tomorrow, catering and tourist-industry employees plan another 24-hour strike. Tourism is Greece’s largest industry, accounting for about 16 percent of gross domestic product and one in five jobs, the World Travel and Tourism Council said.

“It’s the usual routine,” said Elina Zaroulia, 25, who does fashion public relations for Hugo Boss in Athens and didn’t join strikers today. “Protesters, banners, slogans, but if you work in the private sector you go to work, it’s the way it is and definitely now that it is a time of crisis.
Greek pensioners on average live on 96 percent of the salary they had when they worked, more than twice the proportion of earnings as Germans, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Paris-based group called the system a “fiscal time bomb.”

Companies are prevented from dismissing any more than 2 percent of their workforce in any given month[...]
I haven't bothered digging about Spain, France, the Nordics, etc. but we all know that the rottenness of the system are there, and that finding them is pretty easy. So what?

What is very important here, is that there's this shift in perception and attitude: what used to be taboo is now openly reported, and people are starting to show that they are fed up with the system where public sector employees and special interest group suck all the wealth and life out of the 30% of people who actually pay taxes.

I was very pessimistic until very recently. Now I think that the general public seeking its own self interest, will get us rid of socialism, and central planing and will throw away big governments. It's time to put an end to this Grand Experiment and make a fresh start.

1 comment:

Dave Narby said...

Hear that rushing sound?

Freedom is on the move baby!