Last Chance Election Primer
In last week’s column I reviewed some policy issues marking stark differences between Obama and Romney – a sort of check list of where they stand on social, economic, and security issues both domestic and foreign. But there’s a bigger picture here to consider before you vote.
The big picture goes like this: one guy (Obama) is steering America toward becoming a larger government entitlement state while the other guy (Romney) is for smaller government and more individual liberty and responsibility. Here’s the thing: If government gets bigger it means that more people will be working in government, meaning they are dependant on the government for their livelihood. And if you are dependant on government for your livelihood, guess what? You don’t vote for someone who wants to cut the size of government, you vote for the guy who will INCREASE the size of government.
In an article last year in The Wall Street Journal, Stephen Moore spelled it out when he wrote, “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?”
According to New York University Prof. Paul Light, if we add up the true size of the federal workforce — civil servants, postal workers, military personnel, contractors, grantees, and bailed-out businesses — and adding in state- and local-government employees — civil servants, teachers, firefighters, and police officers, we reach the astonishing figure of nearly 40 million Americans employed in some way by government. That means that about 17 percent of the American labor pool — one in every six workers — owes its living to the taxpayer.
The Federal government employs, Professor Light estimates, around 11 million workers, broken down as follows: 1.8 million civil servants, 870,000 postal workers, 1.4 million military personnel, 4.4 million contractors, and 2.5 million grantees. Now consider the state and local situation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 3.8 million full-time and 1.5 million part-time employees on state payrolls. Local governments add another 11 million full-time and 3.2 million part-time personnel. This means that state and local governments combined employ 19.5 million Americans.
The other thing is, as more and more people turn to the government for federal assistance, such as welfare, food stamps, government subsidies, entitlement programs, getting paid for not growing stuff, getting paid for not working, getting paid for having babies, etc, then we soon will have a country where the majority of the population becomes thoroughly dependant on the federal government to live. If America goes Obama’s way, that will mean more people on government programs and more people who work in government. Those two groups will make up the vast majority of all Americans.
So why is this bad? Because government doesn’t create wealth, it collects wealth from others. Government doesn’t create things, it taxes and regulates things that are created. If we become a nation of people dependent on government, then that leaves fewer people to actually create the wealth. Fewer people working in the private sector means fewer people creating things. It’s as simple as that. Europe has long ago become a continent of nanny states and that is why they are in decline now. When he ran for president four years ago, Obama promised to “fundamentally change America.” He has.
Consider how Obama has “fundamentally changed” America since he was elected:
Just in welfare alone there has been an increase of 18 million people, to 46 million Americans now receiving food stamps. A 122% increase in food stamp spending to an estimated $89 billion this year from $40 billion in 2008; an increase of 3.6 million people receiving Social Security disability payments; and a 10 million person increase in the number of individuals receiving welfare, to 107 million, or more than one-third of the U.S. population.
America doesn’t need bigger government. America doesn’t need more welfare. America needs creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurialism. America needs strong and growing small businesses that offer more jobs to more people. America needs more people working for themselves and not working for the government. And with taxes as high as they are these days, it seems that we are ALL working for the government as it is. As President Reagan said, “Government isn’t the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Think about this before you vote.