Crime does pay - a lot
Not that we needed more evidence, but here's one more sign that a lot of things are rotten in Harrisburg. According to an Associated Press report, former state Rep. Frank LaGrotta of Ellwood City, who pleaded guilty recently for setting up his sister and niece with "ghost" jobs on the state payroll, will still be able to collect his generous state pension. Apparently, admitting to bilking taxpayers and pleading guilty to felony charges isn't enough to get one bumped from the good graces of the State Employees' Retirement System. The AP report said the system has a list of 23 crimes that require pension forfeiture. Raping the public trust, I guess, isn't on it. So LaGrotta, a 20-year legislative veteran who got not a single day of jail time when he was sentenced, can collect an annual pension of $48,000 after he turns 50 this November. Based on this story, here's my advice to youngsters just getting out of high school. First off, forget college. Then suck up to a sufficient number of people to get yourself elected to the state Legislature. Continue sucking up to people for the next 20 years, spreading Walking Around Money (also known as taxpayers' dollars) across your legislative district as if you were a cross between an ATM machine and Johnny Appleseed. Become a thieving scumbag. Get convicted of screwing your constituents. But don't worry, you won't go to jail. Instead, you can retire comfortably on the backs of the same people you just assaulted in a tender part of their anatomy. As boxing promoter Don King is fond of saying, "Only in America."