Government Spending

Public Sector Drives Deep Into The Night

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Michael Barone writing in the Washington Examiner:

Private-sector employment peaked at 115.8 million in December 2007, when the recession officially began. It was down to 108.5 million last November. That's a 6 percent decline.

Public-sector employment peaked at 22.6 million in August 2008. It fell a bit in 2009, then has rebounded back to 22.5 million in November. That's less than a 1 percent decline.

This is not an accident; it is the result of deliberate public policy. About one-third of the $787 billion stimulus package passed in February 2009 was directed at state and local governments, which have been facing declining revenues and are, mostly, required to balance their budgets.

Barone goes on to note the union connection in this outcome. Specifically, that public-sector workers tend to be unionized. And heavy supporters of Democrats.

More food for thought:

As for the argument that maintaining government payrolls pumps money into the private-sector economy -- well, where does that government money come from? From private-sector employees and employers or from those who buy government bonds and who must be repaid by government in the future….

Democrats have been surprised that so many downscale voters oppose their big spending programs. Maybe many of those voters have noticed how much of that spending has gone to public-sector union members, leaving the rest of America with a less than happy new year.

Whole col here.

There is a looming showdown in American society between public-sector employees and the rest of us, in terms of job security and, especially, unsustainable gold-plated retirement and health benefits that are working hard to bankrupt whole states such as California, New York, and New Jersey. As with some parts of the private sector (domestically owned auto companies, for instance), basic compensation packages were hammered into place in a very different America, and conferred massive future benefits when politicians were either too stupid or too cowardly to confront basic questions of fiscal responsibility. Do you want to spend your life (and have your kids spend their lives) to pay ever-increasing taxes for teacher, cop, and bureaurat retirements at early ages? Especially while you're expected to fully fund your own? This is a social contract that needs to be redrawn ASAP.

A must-read on the topic: The current issue of Reason, on newsstands now, featuring a cover story on just "how public servants became our masters."