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What More Needs to be Said?

January 7, 2010

CHART OF THE DAY: How The Government Payroll Replaced Goods-Producing Jobs
Source: HotAir

This comes from Business Insider, and it provides a natural follow-up to my post from last week as to why public-sector workers are more optimistic than private-sector employees. For the first time, the US has more government workers than goods-producing workers:

Click to enlarge

The significant dropoff comes from the sharp increase in unemployment over the last year. As I wrote before, that drop in employment has only impacted the private sector. Government jobs are only off of their peak by 35,000, while the private sector has lost three million positions.

But there’s more to this than just the current economic system. That line stretched back to 1939, and in 71 years, there has only been two significant declines in government employment. The first came at the end of World War II, when we released large numbers of workers back to the private sector. The second came in the early 1980s, when Ronald Reagan tried scaling back the size of government.

Otherwise, in 71 years, the rate of growth in government employment has been more constant than anything I’ve seen in economics. It has been an inexorable inflation of government, a symptom of the encroaching bureaucracy and capital destruction that has plagued the US since the New Deal.

That’s about right.

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