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Growth in government jobs reveals the crime against the private sector

Growth in government jobs reveals the crime against the private sector

Wayne Hoffman
May 3, 2010
Wayne Hoffman
Author Image
May 3, 2010

There are a lot of good people who work in government. Police officers. Teachers. Social Workers. Inspectors. They have jobs to do, and many of them do their jobs exceedingly well. The problem is government takes from the private sector in order to fund its operations, and today, it seems government has a say in just about every aspect of our lives. It extends beyond the proper role of government.

We could use a good deal fewer people working in government and a good deal fewer government programs. I'm fairly certain that the people who broke from England to form our own country a couple hundred years ago didn't do so because they wanted to guarantee a steady supply of government jobs to manage a steady supply of government programs. That is, however, what we have today.

Data from the state Department of Labor show that in March, there were 118,200 people employed in what is generally the state's largest workforce segment: Trade, transportation and utilities. But the March data also has a troubling economic indicator, in that the number of people employed by the government stood at about 119,800. In other words, the number of government workers eclipsed the number of people employed by what is usually the state's largest workforce.

U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also tracks employment in Idaho. The BLS data show that as of March, there were about 119,900 people employed in the Idaho trade, transportation and utility jobs. The agency estimated that there were 119,300 people employed by government, a difference of 600. The state data is recalibrated quarterly, and so there is an expectation that the data from Idaho are more accurate. It's also interesting to note that, according to the state figures, for the last 10 years, the trade, transportation and utilities sector has grown by about 5 percent, while the government sector has grown by 10 percent. Examining state data from 2008 and 2009, you find that the trade, transportation and utilities sector shed about 7 percent while the government sector grew by half a percent.

Over the course of time, any sector of the economy will expand and contract, and the same is true for trade, transportation and utilities, which fell out of the top ranking statewide a few times in the early 90s and five times between 2000 and 2010, according to the state labor department. But this is different.

The policies of the federal government and, to a lesser degree, state and local government, put the emphasis on retaining and maintaining jobs in the government sector and not in the private sector. The so-called "stimulus bill," passed last year, put a heavy premium on facilitating the continuation and development of government jobs. Faced with a choice between cutting taxes to facilitate private job creation and funneling money into agencies to grow and maintain government jobs, the government chose the latter.

The private sector ultimately pays the price for recklessness, and that's what the labor data tells us . We now have a massive loss of private sector productivity and wealth confiscation by government in order to fund its expansive operations. What has happened is nothing short of a crime against the private sector and free market capitalism illustrated in data from the labor department.

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