The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

Government Jobs Are Not the Solution

with 3 comments

A job is a job. That’s what you sometimes hear. And it’s marginally better for an unemployed worker to get a job with the government, or paid for by government, than to have no job at all. After all, a government worker is earning wages—and not drawing unemployment. And government employees pay taxes—in effect, subsidizing their own jobs.

Right?

Except that the rest of a government worker’s salary is paid for by taxpayers working in the private sector.

And, as government grows, and demands more tax dollars—now and in the future—you need more and more private sector dollars to pay for those government workers and government spending. Some government spending finds its way to the private sector, but once again, those funds must be paid for with tax dollars.

You might call it “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” Of course, the more you take from Peter, the less he has to pay whoever is working for him. Eventually, Peter has nothing to spend on investment in the community or paying someone’s salary.

And that’s the end of the free market and its ability to generate wealth for everyone. Government does not, and cannot, generate wealth—except for itself. At the point where government pays for everything, and everything Peter earns goes to government, you call it “socialism.” Not hyperbole, just a fact.

Here in South Carolina, the public sector is growing faster than the private sector, and the private sector is shrinking in relation to the public sector. In terms of state hiring alone (recall that federal and local hiring is expanding even faster than state-level employment), the ratio of private sector employment to state employment went from 15.74 in January 2005 to 14.46 in January 2010. In practical terms, instead of having almost 16 workers subsidizing each government employee, we’re down to 14 and a half.

In fact, since the start of the recession, private sector employment in South Carolina has declined by 8 percent. Meanwhile, public sector employment increased by 7 percent. Put another way, the private sector has shed 5.3 jobs for every public sector job created—a 12.5 percent decline in the relative size of the private sector compared to government.

We’re all looking for signs of an economic recovery, but more jobs paid for with tax dollars and a shrinking private sector labor force is bad news for South Carolina.

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Written by Robert Appel

July 26, 2010 at 10:10 am

3 Responses

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  1. […] This post was Twitted by weskridge […]

    Twitted by weskridge

    July 26, 2010 at 1:10 pm

  2. […] a decline in the state unemployment rate from May to June (11.1 percent to 10.7 percent)—something typically viewed as a good thing—there were fewer people actually employed in June than in May. As of June 2010, there were […]

  3. […] a decline in the state unemployment rate from May to June (11.1 percent to 10.7 percent)—something typically viewed as a good thing—there were fewer people actually employed in June than in May. As of June 2010, there were […]


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