From the opening statement of Representative Sam Johnson (R-TX), the chairman of the House Social Security Subcommittee at a hearing last week:
... I was outraged to learn that the union which represents Administrative Law Judges has just filed a lawsuit in federal court asking for an injunction against Social Security’s guidelines for judges to handle 500 to 700 cases a year.
The union claims that these goals are “illegal quotas” and that management’s efforts to meet Congress’s and the public’s expectations for timely decisions interfere with judge’s decision-making independence.
This is the same union that argues that these highly paid federal employees, who have no performance standards and cannot be fired without going through a time-consuming and expensive process, should be allowed to work at home at least one day a week.
Let me be clear. No one is telling any judge what decision to make, so their independence is protected. And despite what the union argues, in FY 2012, 79 percent of judges were hearing at least 500 cases a year.
Most taxpayers would be surprised to learn that last year the union representing judges spent $1 million in taxpayers’ dollars not on holding hearings, but on union activities. That’s enough to fund a full year’s salary for nine judges.
In fact, total taxpayer dollars spent by all four unions at Social Security reached $14.3 million last year, enough to fund a full year’s salary for about 206 employees.