Government Grandees: America’s Patrician Class

There’s an excellent article at Reason Magazine by Steven Greenhut that examines the tyranny of government unions and the well-established government employee grandee class.  Greenhut provides a solid analysis of the growing menace of bloated big government, offering mind-boggling examples of its arrogance and power.

There was a time when government work offered lower salaries than comparable jobs in the private sector but more security and somewhat better benefits. These days, government workers fare better than private-sector workers in almost every area—pay, benefits, time off, and job security…Public pensions have swollen to unrecognizable proportions over the last decade.

In 2005, the average salary in the private sector was at $40,505, while the average wage for federal employees stood at $59,864.  And where is all the money going?  Well, at the close of World War II, 78% of the national income went to the private sector, 16% to the federal, and 6% to those in state/local governments.  Today, only 54% of the American economy is in the private sector, while 28% and 18% of the national income goes to the federal and state/local government employees respectively.  Or should I say dis-respectively.

Greenhut is not optimistic about the prospects of slaying this Government Godzilla that has become the centerfold of the US economy:

Bigger government means more government employees. Those employees then become a permanent lobby for continual government growth. The nation may have reached critical mass; the number of government employees at every level may have gotten so high that it is politically impossible to roll back the bureaucracy, rein in the costs, and restore lost freedoms…People who are supposed to serve the public have become a privileged elite that exploits political power for financial gain and special perks. Because of its political power, this interest group has rigged the game so there are few meaningful checks on its demands.

The article ends on this pessimistic and sour note, with no insight or analysis offered on how America can systematically free itself from this bureaucratic chokehold.  But Greenhut certainly sounds the alarm here and hopefully more and more Americans will heed the warning.

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