Archive for December 31st, 2009

I’m not sure what today will bring, but yesterday was a mixed experience. The skiing was fairly nice, even though the morning started with the thermostat reading -8.

The trip to the slopes was the bad part. I’m driving in a convoy of cars through a small Vermont town, going as fast as the car in front of me and the car behind me. But I made a big mistake. I had out-of-state plates on my car, so the local bureaucrat with a gun pulls me over for going 38 in a 25.

And people wonder why I don’t feel warm and fuzzy about government.

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A Michael Barone column in the Washington Examiner compares the bloated payrolls and happy times for the bureaucracy with the challenging times for workers in the productive sector of the economy. The column does not mention that bureaucrats also are vastly overpaid compared to private sector workers:

It looks like a happy new year for you — if you’re a public employee. That’s the takeaway from a recent Rasmussen poll that shows that 46 percent of government employees say the economy is getting better while just 31 percent say it’s getting worse. In contrast, 32 percent of those with private-sector jobs say the economy is getting better, while 49 percent it is getting worse. Nearly half, 44 percent, of government employees rate their personal finances as good or excellent. Only 33 percent of private-sector employees do. It sounds like public- and private-sector employees are looking at different Americas. And they are. Private-sector employment peaked at 115.8 million in December 2007, when the recession officially began. It was down to 108.5 million last November. That’s a 6 percent decline. Public-sector employment peaked at 22.6 million in August 2008. It fell a bit in 2009, then has rebounded back to 22.5 million in November. That’s less than a 1 percent decline. This is not an accident; it is the result of deliberate public policy. …At some point — and this already has occurred in much of Western Europe — public sector spending tends to choke off private-sector growth. America’s current high unemployment levels have been commonplace in much of Western Europe for the last 25 years. The question now is whether they will become commonplace in the United States in the decade ahead.

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