Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Government Employment - The New Welfare

Government is the fastest growing employer in the US - no small feat, given that it's already the largest employer (counting both federal and local government). It makes you wonder what all these employees actually do! Well, even years ago, when government was a lot smaller than it is today, most people believed: not too much! So, as people are drowning in debt, losing their jobs, their home's value is decreasing along with their salaries, it is not surprising that they don't take too kindly to the ever increasing cost of government.

The fact that government employ is a safe haven from the crumbling economy has not gone unnoticed by the masses: more and more people are flocking to Uncle Sam's warm employment embrace. Why not? They're hiring. Government workers are still getting pay increases. People working for Uncle Sam (or for the State) don't have to worry about health-care costs! The government doesn't have to live on a budget - it can either increase taxes on its citizens or borrow money (which will eventually increase taxes on a future generation).

Since most government workers don't do much at all, it can be described as an extremely lucrative form of Welfare. It's extremely nice for the people on it, but not so nice for the people having to pay for it. And it can't go on forever. Before this great recession, the parasites growing within government went unnoticed - the population was relatively upbeat about the future - salaries were increasing faster than inflation and they people's prime asset - their home - appeared to be increasing in value even faster than that! But now, things have changed. Citizens in financial straits do tend to notice when their disappearing wealth goes even faster thanks to the unrestrained spending in government.

I am amazed that US citizens are not up in arms over their government's lack of financial restraint. Although I'm an Obama supporter, I'm beginning to doubt even he can restructure this growing house of cards. Think about it: if 1/3 of the US population works for the government and they all vote NO on legislation that would cause them to lose benefits, what chance does such legislation have of passing? Voter turnout in the US is too low to compete with such an enormous "special interest group".