Almost two million dollars, maybe even more.
That’s the answer to today’s big question: how much does the 30-year-old Pee Wee Herman lookalike spouse of the 68-year-old state Senate president stand to collect from the taxpayers over the next half-century or so in so-called “survivor benefits” from his sugar daddy’s state pension?
And that doesn’t even include the health insurance that Bryon “Hands” Hefner will get for life for only 20 percent of the cost of the premium.
You may roll your eyes whenever you hear someone refer to the little twink Pee Wee as the “husband” of Stanley Rosenberg, but according to current law, that’s what he is. Celebrate diversity!
And thus young Pee Wee will be eligible to collect the pension of his, ahem, spouse, for as long as he shall live, ‘til death do him part – from the state trough.
This highway robbery, by the way, goes a long way to explaining the unseemly haste of legislature’s pay heist earlier this year. The disgraced Rosenberg, who in the wake of the scandal has now taken what will most likely turn out to be a permanent leave of absence, wanted to make sure his boy toy was taken care of in perpetuity.
So Rosenberg and his House counterpart, the unindicted coconspirator Robert DeLeo, gave themselves 60 percent pay raises and then made them repeal-proof by attaching them to equally monstrous payraises for the state’s very ethical judiciary.
A state pension is based on your three highest earning years. In 2015 and 2016, Rosenberg collected a little more than $100,000 (although, with his legal residence more than 50 miles from the State House, he’s always been to write tens of thousands off his federal income tax, making his real income much higher).
This year, with his ill-gotten gains, Rosenberg is on pace to grab more than $142,000. This is why the hacks attached an “emergency preamble” to their theft, so they could start collecting – and also setting up their eventual kisses in the mail – immediately.
Rosenberg hasn’t had a real job since Jimmy Carter was president. First he was a coat holder to a state rep (John Olver), then when Olver became a state senator Rosenberg inherited his House seat. Finally he followed his old boss into the state Senate after Olver was elected to Congress.
These numbers are all rough estimates, but they should be pretty close. Rosenberg, with his lifetime of gainful unemployment on Beacon Hill, is looking at the maximum 80 percent pension whenever he calls it quits. Let’s plug in his top three years in at 100, 100 and 140 – 340 divided by 3 is 113, times .80. That works out to about $90,000 a year, for life.
But wait, you have to provide for your… spouse. When you file for survivor’s benefits, the rule is that you take a hit. For most filers, with say a three-, five- or seven-year age difference with their spouses, it’s 5-7 percent.
But remember, Stanley is old enough to be Bryon’s grandfather. This is a May-December romance on steroids. So Rosenberg’s $90,000 pension is going to be reduced off the top between 15 and 17 percent – let’s round off the cut to $13,500.
Now we’re down to $76,500 a year, which is not much more than a third of what Billy Bulger gets, but it’s still approximately $76,500 more than anyone Rosenberg’s age in the Dreaded Private Sector is ever going to get from his pension. After Stanley assumes room temperature, his widow (or is it widower?) files for the survivor benefits.
Mrs. Pee Wee Rosenberg will be able to collect around two-thirds of Mr. Rosenberg’s $76,500.
In other words, around $51,000 a year.
These days, American males live on average into their 80’s, so let’s say Rosenberg has another maybe 17 years before he reaches the checkout counter. That would set Hands Hefner up to start collecting at age 47 or thereabouts – and if he lasts to age 85, that means he grabs just under $2 million as his cut of disgraced Sen. Rosenberg’s state pension.
Ain’t love grand?