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John Oceguera’s attacks against Joe Heck: "Outrageous" http://m.lvsun.com/news/2012/oct/09/line-attack-it-fair-characterize-heck-callous-towa/ and "Untrue" http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/facts-still-matter-as-election-day-mercifully-nears-173453491.html
B-roll of John Oceguera
Las Vegas Review-Journal: Meet John Oceguera, world-class hypocrite
By Glenn Cook
Apr. 22, 2012
John Oceguera wants you to think he's a champion for middle-class, working families. Like just about every other Democrat running for Congress, he has pinned his entire campaign on his party's idea of "fairness": vilifying Wall Street, the rich and the privileged.
But Nevada's Assembly speaker has no business attacking the affluent, bashing bankers, supporting class warfare or claiming to understand the economic suffering of Nevadans. Oceguera is a world-class hypocrite whose own life is so disconnected from his proclaimed political sympathies that his campaign won't dare acknowledge it.
Oceguera is challenging Republican Rep. Joe Heck in the 3rd Congressional District. Campaigning has been a full-time job for the Democrat since he retired as North Las Vegas' assistant fire chief Sept. 23. Oceguera no longer has to concern himself with the details of double-dipping, his longtime practice of collecting his firefighting and legislative salaries at the same time.
He has started collecting his lifetime, taxpayer-funded pension - at the ripe old age of 43.
Sure, that's fair.
Nevada's public safety workers can retire at any age if they have 25 years of service credit. But that doesn't mean they actually have to work for 25 years. State and local government employees can purchase up to five years of service credit at a cost of roughly one-third their current annual salary per year. Oceguera worked just 20 years for North Las Vegas (if you include all his time in Carson City every other year since 2001), but bought five years of credit so he could immediately begin collecting his full pension.
The cost of that service purchase was cushioned by his parting gift from North Las Vegas: $283,733.69 in accrued, unused sick leave. (No wonder North Las Vegas is broke!) According to TransparentNevada.com, Oceguera's total compensation from the city for 2011 totaled $452,516, making him one of the highest-paid government workers in the state last year.
He was on the job, full-time, for less than five months.
Sure, that's fair for working, taxpaying families.
Oceguera's campaign won't say how much his annual pension is worth, and we won't know for sure until sometime in June, when his updated financial disclosure forms will be made public by the House of Representatives. However, based on his highest-earning years as assistant chief - and his unwillingness to reveal the big number - it's safe to say he's taking in six figures.
Taxpayers fully funded Oceguera's tax-deferred pension contributions, even as they struggled to save for their own retirements and, in many cases, raided those savings to survive the recession. And they're on the hook for his benefits should PERS go bust - a strong possibility in Oceguera's lifetime. He's in good health. If he lives through his early 80s, he'll end up collecting pension benefits for twice as long as he actually worked.
I asked Oceguera's campaign manager, Adam Weiss, if it's fair for taxpayers to begin paying Oceguera a huge pension at age 43 when they must toil for at least 20 more years before they can consider retirement.
"John feels fortunate to have served his community as assistant fire chief of North Las Vegas," Weiss said. "We know that with so many Nevadans suffering in this economy, it's important to keep our focus on the future, get Nevadans back to work and fix the economy."
Translation: Yes! Working past age 43 is for chumps!
I asked Weiss if it's fair that Oceguera can collect a full pension at age 43 without penalty taxes when common taxpayers must wait until they're at least 59½ to withdraw tax-deferred retirement savings without penalty.
Weiss re-read his previous non-answer, word for word. Translation: Yes! Penalty taxes would cut into John's bonbon budget!
Oceguera has jumped on President Obama's "Buffett Rule" bandwagon, advocating that millionaires pay additional, punitive taxes. But it's lost on Oceguera that he's essentially a millionaire himself. For a private-sector taxpayer to retire at age 43 and guarantee himself at least $100,000 per year in income for 40 years or more (with inflation-adjusted increases), he'd have to have a minimum of $4 million in the bank, given today's interest rates and investment climate.
I asked Weiss if Oceguera would acknowledge that he enjoys a millionaire's standard of living and financial security, and whether he should pay such penalty taxes, too.
"I have no additional on-the-record comment," Weiss said.
Translation: What's fair for John might not be fair for you.
Oceguera has ripped Wall Street relentlessly throughout his campaign. Meanwhile, his pension proceeds come from the billions of taxpayer dollars invested on Wall Street. The health of the state's pension fund depends on those assets being invested in profitable corporations - including Big Oil, another of Oceguera's favorite bogeymen.
I asked Weiss another question: Would Oceguera's standard of living and early retirement be possible without the performance and valuable expertise of Wall Street?
"I have no additional on-the-record comment," Weiss said.
Translation: The sooner you stop asking these annoying questions, the sooner I can formulate another scripted non-answer!
I won't pretend for a minute that Democrats have a monopoly on hypocrisy. Republicans are plenty guilty of it, too. But as I've written before, when Republicans are hypocrites, it causes great harm to themselves, their reputations, their families and their party - usually through infidelity or other breaches of social-conservative values.
When Democrats play the part of hypocrite, they benefit personally - they avoid the very rules and systems they impose on everyone else, and they hurt the public through higher costs and reduced opportunity.
There's no fairness in that.
In a campaign defined by voters' financial worries, Oceguera has none because you gave him a $300,000 parachute and a $100,000 annual salary to quit working at age 43. Then he pretends to support the very people he burdens and stand against the institutions and individuals who make his unimaginable financial security possible.
John Oceguera is the worst sort of hypocrite. We have enough of those in Congress.
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