public masters

The current issue of reason magazine  publishes an article by Steven Greenhut, a former columnist for the Orange County Register, entitled “Class War: How public servants became our masters.” You don’t have to be a survivalist living in the mountains of northern Idaho to be shocked and dismayed by the data and conclusions the article presents.

Focusing mainly on California, which has experienced runaway growth of the public sector, the article also addresses the national picture. Many of us think that government salaries are lower than those in the private sector, but by way of recompense government workers enjoy higher job security and somewhat better benefits. That used to be true, but according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “the average federal worker made $59,864 in 2005, compared with the average salary of $40,505 in the private sector.” In 1946, after WWII and the New Deal had swollen government payrolls substantially, the U.S. counted 3.3 million state and local government workers. Today the number stands at nearly 20 million, an increase of almost 500 percent over a period in which the population has grown by only 115 percent. We now have 6.5 state and local government employees per 100 citizens, compared to 2.3 in 1946. [click to continue…]