Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Locust Years of Increased Government Employment

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"From time to time my right hon. Friend lets fall phrases or facts which show that he realises, more than anyone else on that bench it seems to me, the danger in which we stand. One such phrase came from his lips the other night. He spoke of "the years that the locust hath eaten". Let us see which are these "years that the locust hath eaten" even if we do not pry too closely in search of the locusts who have eaten these precious years."
Winston Churchill, Speaking in the House of Commons, 12 November 1936.

He called them the "locust years," and Winston Churchill was speaking about the damage done to Britain's defense by neglect and mismanagement while Adolph Hitler steadily built Germany's war machine.

Locust years: A period of adversity, especially economic hardship, is known as locust years.
"the years that the locust hath eaten," ...describe the period during which ineffective British authorities allowed the armament gap to develop (those authorities were the "locusts" who "ate," or wasted, those precious years).
--Locust Years: Origin and Meaning of the Expression

America is undergoing a similar time when leaders are allowing the locusts to eat. Though the phrase cold be used to illustrate several misguided policies, one that fits is the increased unionization of the government workforce.

Originally at DBKP as Need a Job? The Government is Hiring–and How!

From For feds, more get 6-figure salaries:

The number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal salary data.

Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months — and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.

Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time — in pay and hiring — during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector.

It's suspected that most of Barack Obama's "saved or created jobs" were of the "saved" variety in one particular zip code located on the Potomac. The USA Today article goes on to state, "The growth in six-figure salaries has pushed the average federal worker's pay to $71,206, compared with $40,331 in the private sector."

Mark Steyn, in Unsustainable had a few thoughts:

Speaking of roads, I see that, according to USA Today, when the economic downturn began, the U.S. Department of Transportation had just one employee making over $170,000. A year and a half later, it has 1,690.

Happy days are here again!

Did you get your pay raise this year? What’s that, you don’t work for the government? Yes, you do, one way or another. Good luck relying on Obama, Pelosi, Frank, and the other Emirs of Kleptocristan “taking action” to “resolve” that. In the last month, the cost of insuring Greece’s sovereign debt against default has doubled. Spain and Portugal are headed the same way. When you binge-spend at the Greek level in a democratic state, there aren’t many easy roads back. The government has introduced an austerity package to rein in spending. In response, Greek tax collectors have walked off the job.

In other words, after a little over a year of Barack Obama, 1690 Transportation Department employees' lives got much better, while the millions of taxpayers'--who made that great leap forward in bureaucratic living standard possible--lives got worse.

"What's that, dear? There's no money in the family budget for Suzy's braces? Well, you know, that's just the price we pay for another 1689 bumps in $170,000 salaries. Government people have to eat too, you know."

In case anyone thinks that those lavish increases in salary were achieved by some sort of slashing of the number of government workers on the payroll, think again. The number of government workers is going up, while the number of regular private sector jobs--you know, the kind that most people are familiar with--is going down.

This graph illustrates one problem.

While the number of government drones goes up, the jobs that allows the rest of us folks to pay for their lifestyles goes down. It's on the order of the Social Security problem without the tiresome years spent waiting for the consequences.

For most companies, if hard times hit, they sensibly make do with less people. In ObamaWorld, hard times mean "Get me more people and be quick about it!"

And not just anybody: Obama wants partners in his vision of a private sector laboring for public employees--and bigger government--goals.

Last month the Labor Department reported that private-sector unions lost 834,000 members last year and now represent only 7.2 percent of private-sector employees. That's down from the all-time peak of 36 percent in 1953 and '54.

But union membership is still growing in the public sector. Last year 37.4 percent of public-sector employees were union members. That percentage was down near zero in the 1950s. For the first time in history, a majority of union members are government employees.

And the difference between public union members and their counterparts in private unions?

Public-sector unionism is a very different animal from private-sector unionism. It is not adversarial but collusive. Public-sector unions strive to elect their management, which in turn can extract money from taxpayers to increase wages and benefits -- and can promise pensions that future taxpayers will have to fund.

And those increased costs which future taxpayers will have to fund come on top of all of the other obligations to future taxpayers; i.e., the children and grandchildren of today's wastrels in charge.

Not content to spend all of this generation's money, it's turned with a vengence on spending the money of generations yet unborn.

When the grandchildren of today's political leaders find that they can't go to college or buy a home and that their pockets are filled with nothing but I.O.U.s from the Obama administration, they will not be happy campers.

In fact, they may just wonder, "Who allowed all of these locusts to eat for all of those many, many years?"

by Mondo Frazier
images: aljazeera

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