10.01.2008 0

Feathering the Bed at Taxpayer Expense

  • On: 10/06/2008 11:38:17
  • In: Fiscal Responsibility
  • While Rome burns, the politicians are busy feathering Big Government beds with new make-work jobs. That’s the news from our nation’s capitals.

    With the economy faltering amid slowing growth, rising prices, falling government revenue, and the private sector tightening its belt, public sector employment is skyrocketing according to USA Today:

    “Federal, state and local governments are hiring new workers at the fastest pace in six years… Governments added 76,800 jobs in the first three months of 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports… That’s the biggest jump in first-quarter hiring since a boom in 2002 that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks. By contrast, private companies collectively shed 286,000 workers in the first three months of 2008.”

    Lest anyone think this splurge indicates some sort of misguided anti-recession move, instead it shows that once again Big Government is behind the curve, leaving the taxpayer behind the eight ball:

    “‘More hiring has nothing to do with good government or economic policy,’ says economist Kenneth Brown, research director at the Rio Grande Foundation in Albuquerque. ‘It has everything to do with government being slow to react to economic change.’

    “Government hiring began to boom last year around July 1, when most state and local governments started new fiscal years. Those budgets were based on forecasts established in a strong economy. In each quarter since, the total government workforce has been the most in at least six years.

    “State and local governments have run deficits for the last nine months, the Commerce Department reports. Tax collections went flat in the middle of 2007, but spending has continued to rise.”

    Essentially, these positions were authorized last year when things looked good. But times changed – and Big Government, of course, didn’t. Hence, the politicians have just gone ahead and hired despite the economy, and thus revenues going south. This represents an unsustainable increase of the size of government precisely at the time when Americans are tightening their own belts.

    In order to pay for these jobs, the politicians have only two alternatives: either increase revenues, or go even deeper into debt. Either means that the American taxpayer will have to foot the bill. According to the USA Today story, nearly 88,000 units of government throughout the country employ 22 million people. That is an onerous swath of the nation, and does not even take into account all of those retired public sector employees still receiving government benefits.

    In addition, public sector employees unions consistently demand budget increases in order to pay for their burgeoning benefits. Simultaneously they oppose any fiscal restraint on the part of governments when economic times are hard. In short, they only exacerbate the larger problem – all the while demanding the creation of yet more layers of unsustainable spending.

    But, let’s cut to the chase: This additional 77,000 new government jobs is simply feathering the bed at taxpayer expense. Unlike the private sector, government does not need to produce any products or profits. And the truth is, government doesn’t create jobs; it makes work. Yet, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, public employment is the nearest thing on earth to eternal life.

    When times get hard, businesses scale back or they go under (and then nobody has a job).

    Government, on the other hand, uses rosy forecasts in order to justify new government jobs, more taxes, and increased spending. Even when those forecasts turn out to be incorrect, the bureaucrats and their political puppet-handlers simply attempt to hold the line and prevent any drawdown in spending.

    Even when Rome is burning, the politicians cannot even be counted on to grab a pail of water and help put out the flames. Instead, they insist on continuing to build a monstrosity – while the spoils of their pyrrhic victory are ashes in the taxpayer’s mouth.

    ALG Perspective: The American people do not need jobs programs from government. Rather, they need the burden reduced that government heaps upon the economy in the forms of overtaxation and overregulation, which inhibit economic growth, prevent new businesses from forming, and make impossible new private sector jobs creation. With that gargantuan burden, real job security for Americans based on sustained economic growth will remain elusive and illusive.

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