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View Full Version : We've Become a Nation of Takers, Not Makers



Eric Johnson
04-01-2011, 05:52 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704050204576219073867182108.html

http://tinyurl.com/3s93ds8

More Americans work for the government than in manufacturing, farming, fishing, forestry, mining and utilities combined.

By STEPHEN MOORE

If you want to understand better why so many states—from New York to Wisconsin to California—are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this depressing statistic: Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.

It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills?

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Marvin S
04-01-2011, 06:14 PM
The use of "Work" or "Workers" when describing an employee is an assumption most writers are not qualified to make. I do understand "is employed by" is a stretch for most graduates of our government schools ;-).

Franco
04-01-2011, 07:14 PM
Just wait if Obama Care gets rolling.

We can't afford the government we have and adding a few hundred thousand more Fed employees will not be sustainable financially.

dnf777
04-01-2011, 07:32 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704050204576219073867182108.html

http://tinyurl.com/3s93ds8

More Americans work for the government than in manufacturing, farming, fishing, forestry, mining and utilities combined.

By STEPHEN MOORE

If you want to understand better why so many states—from New York to Wisconsin to California—are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this depressing statistic: Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.

It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills?

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Eric,
Why do you think that is? We've had democrats and republicans running things since 1960, and this trend has continued under both. Actually, the size of govt in terms of payroll numbers and amounts decreased under clinton, as odd as it may sound, but nonethless, both parties have been complicit in this trend.

I think its a function of cheaper labor markets opening up on world markets. We just can't compete. Unions or not. An acceptable wage for our American standard of living is way off most other countries charts.

I've posed the question here before: Can an economy survive and thrive based on technology and service? Or MUST an economy be a producer of goods to survive? I don't know. Not sure anyone does.

Good thread...hopefully good discussion to follow...

Franco
04-01-2011, 08:03 PM
The issue is the behemuth known as government.

With today's technology, we should be able to operate all government with the same number of people we did in the 1960's!

Simple Economics 101, tax payers can not afford to support all of these people.

Just wait till the Fed Reserve scandal hits the media later tonight!

Here is a taste; bailouts to foreign banks and businesses. Add bailout of major private corporation's Pension funds!!!

No wonder they fought being audited so hard.

Buzz
04-01-2011, 08:39 PM
Good God. Doesn't anyone take the time to look up numbers for themselves?

They keep track of some pretty neat statistics if you're willing to look. For example, you can find the total number of government civilian, government military, and state and local government employees, all listed with total population numbers. For example check out the numbers in this spreadsheet. I was going to make some nice graphs for you guys, but I want to enjoy what's left of my Friday night!

http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy05/sheets/hist17z5.xls

Are you back now? Looking at the numbers you can see that over the period between 1962 and 2003 the number of government workers per 1000 US citizens went like this.

Executive branch Civilians
from 13.3 down to 9.2

Uniformed military
from 15.2 down to 5.08

State and local government
From 35.1 up to 64.5

So we have about 70% the civilians, 1/3 the uniformed, and twice the number of state and local government workers. You may want to argue that this is because of federal mandates, I don't know. But at any rate, something we really might want to be concerned about in all this is what's happening to people that used to make things around here.

I couldn't help but notice that Stephen brought utility workers into it. If he knows of some way to increase the number or people working in that area, that would be cool.

Eric Johnson
04-01-2011, 08:41 PM
One thing that may need to be adjusted for is the size of the military. Dunno.

However, the size of the Clinton government isn't really the issue. If the government has grown steadily since the 1960's, a Clinton downturn only impacted the marginal growth, not the baseline.

Further, the growth of the Federal government programs have pushed the 50 states and the local governments to grow. Given the number of state and local governments, the growth has been nearly exponential.

Eric

Buzz
04-01-2011, 08:52 PM
Given the number of state and local governments, the growth has been nearly exponential.

Eric


I don't know about exponential. That would be pretty breathtaking. From the numbers I found, in 2003 we had about 1.8 the number of state and local government workers per 1000 US citizens than we did in 1962. That works out to roughly a 1.5% annual growth relative to the US population.

Marvin S
04-01-2011, 09:32 PM
I don't know about exponential. That would be pretty breathtaking. From the numbers I found, in 2003 we had about 1.8 the number of state and local government EMPLOYEES per 1000 US citizens than we did in 1962. That works out to roughly a 1.5% annual growth relative to the US population.

Rough numbers -

In 1962 Population 100 mil - 10 % public equals 10 mil

2003 population 300 mil - 1.8/K would = 54 million

So for a 3 times growth in population there is a 5.4 times growth in public employees????????????? What's different? The cost per employee!!!! Considerably :).

Eric Johnson
04-01-2011, 09:52 PM
Buzz-

I was admittedly using a bit of hyperbole. Change "nearly exponential" to "breathtaking."

Eric

Uncle Bill
04-02-2011, 11:36 AM
OOPS...the vote-grabbers have now gotten caught with their fingers in the cookie jar.

As a young kid sitting around with the 'grownups' and listening to them discuss the happenings in the country. There would always be one or two that would issue that hackneyed phrase, "there ought to be a law". As politicians continued to provide those laws, so they would 'please' their constituants, so they'd receive their blessings in the form of votes the next cycle, subsequently developing an entire new profession...the fulltime politician.

Since there was no "law" to stop this form of "taker", such as term limits, all his toadies kept him in office, so these sycophants could continue to receive their favors. And since so few at that time could devote any thought to where this was leading this nation, the practice of "pork production from the troughs of government" continued unabated.

Along with these new laws that needed implementation, came the increase in folks happy to get on that payroll, with all their bennies and perks. Keep this up for several decades, and you have a "Wisconsin-type-problem" in all the unionista states.

As these politicians continued to see all they had to do was continue to offer freebies and welfare for votes, and the apathetic that were too busy trying to keep their heads above the water didn't realize they were being had, so they kept looking for the easy way out...and VOILA...hope and change was proffered. How could it miss?

But after a couple years of seeing they had been hoodwinked, many had had enough and started to talk to their like-minded neighbors. Enough is enough was their thinking, and it was time to stop the complacency and start getting actively involved. TEA Party time. Time to:

..take back a country that was about to fall into the abyss.

..remove the 'career politician', because we recognize what he's doing to keep that career.

..make draconian cuts in the spending, because of the draconian over-spending that has led up to this juncture in history.

..remind your newly elected representatives why they were sent to Washington, and what they MUST do to even stay a little while.

..ignore the crowd that squeels when 'their ox gets gored', because there are no sacred oxen in this fight of survival.

..stop the governmental welfare at EVERY level, because it leads to dependancy by all that receive it...from the corporations to the homeless.

..weed out the corruption, graft, pork spending, and obvious duplications.

It's unfortuante we don't have the luxury of wittling down all this gross debt in the same way it was accrued...incrementally! Too late for that. We've already hit the iceberg. Now we must find enough ways to empty the weight to keep the boat afloat until it can be repaired. Lots of 'stuff' needs to be thrown over, it just can't be salvaged any more.

That's why 2012 will be the most crucial vote this nation will ever have. Either those that know what must be done take the lead and do it, or the SFN crowd wins, and Atlas will shrug. Then the hope and change that Roger and his ilk so desperately seek will send this nation to ruin. And quite frankly, I don't much give a damn. I don't intend to be here long enough to see this land I love go down. So whatever the rest of you sow, that's what you'll reap.

God help us all.

UB