According to a recent Agora Financial report, federal and state government employees here in the Fifty States now make up 21% of the total employed workforce. 1 in 5. To put it another way, on average, the four working adults in my immediate family are supporting one government bureaucrat or soldier.
That is incredible.
Even more so when you realize that only includes direct employees. It doesn’t include people who work for government contractors. People on welfare. It doesn’t even include county and municipal and special district employees (such as government-run, tax-funded schools).
And according to Agora, the governments’ workforce has expanded from 15% to 21% in just eight years, from 2012. AND there is not any sign of the expansion slowing down.
So, on average, every four people working in the US together bear the cost of another person – that government worker. And this does not include the cost of government purchases and contract services. (That probably consumes another 25% of our personal income.) It also does not count people who are paid government pensions (including military) and social security recipients (even if they are “being paid back” the money that they paid in).
In reality, we are at or near a ratio of 1:1 – for every person working but NOT for some government, there is a person getting paid by those governments.
Admittedly, even government employees are also taxed to support “themselves” but still… at best that means that the ratio of support of government people is 5:1 instead of 4:1. Just for the people – not for the other spending of government.
(As I’ve pointed out, even God Himself required just one-tenth of their “increase” from His people, the Israelites. How far we’ve come!)
Of course, some states are worse than others. For example, South Dakota has about 15,000 state employees, for a population now about 850,000 – of which perhaps 450,000 are employed full-time. So our ratio is 30:1 (state, not federal). Which means other states (New York, California?) have much worse problems. But the overall problem harms ALL the Fifty States. And the territories. (Not even considering the world impact.)
Yes, all these government employees DO produce some useful and valuable services – and even a few “goods.” Things like medical care, electrical power, maintenance of highways, and the like. But most truly productive government employees are in local government: like road maintenance, operation of sewer and water systems, and such. Which are not included in that 21%.
Is it any wonder that our economy seems to be crashing around us? Or threatening to on a daily basis, no matter how we “boom?”
Governments, at their heart, are economic parasites. If the governments cannot fund themselves (pay their salaries and pay for their toys and tools of control) by stealing from productive individuals and their enterprises in their jurisdiction? Then the government must fund itself somehow, to survive. By either stealing from people (directly or indirectly) in other jurisdictions – usually by conquest. Or by outright enslavement of their own people. Or both. The government can enslave directly (as the Soviets and Chinese did) or indirectly. That is, by nationalizing their enterprises: seizing capital and property and systems. And therefore enslaving those employees or entrepreneurs. Maybe not 100% – not all their time and effort, but more and more.
The line between theft through taxation and theft through confiscation, nationalization, and “state capitalism” is hard to define. It does not have to be done by force – usually the threat of force is sufficient. To a point.
As is the line between parasite and predator. If the parasite eats its host sufficiently to seriously weaken and kill it, then it is a predator. And if it kills its host and does not find another one, it dies. But whether it finds another victim or not, the original host is dead: it cannot benefit. Is that the point at which we are at for the American governments here in the Fifty States?
(Afterword: In like manner, the line between taxation and slavery is hard to find. (If you don’t believe that ANY taxation is slavery.) A true income tax rate of 10% may be tolerable. A rate of 50% may be endured. Is a rate of 80% or 90% any different than a slave that only has to work for 32 or 36 hours a week for their master? We can argue both ways, of course. Whatever we call it, it is NOT liberty.)