Are Government Workers the New Illegal Aliens?

fireman and medicDid you know the government can’t create jobs? Nearly two years ago on CNN, former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said, “Not in the history of mankind has the government ever created jobs.” And then, “Trust me.”

When Steele said those words, he was widely panned. It was dismissed on the right as a gaffe and debunked on the left as grossly inaccurate.

It was laughable…when Steele said it.

Cut to: Meet the Press last Sunday. CNBC’s Squawk on the Street host Erin Burnett said, “Government can’t create jobs.” It was left unchallenged by any of the other panelists and host David Gregory.

Karen Hughes, who worked in the Bush administration (her government j-o-b) added, “Well…the president seems to have had a revelation that it’s actually business that creates jobs.”

Then to top it all off the Democratic Congressman James Clyburn – agreed. “No, we can’t create jobs, and we shouldn’t. We want them created in the private sector. “

Over 16.5% of Americans are employed by the government, about 22 million of the 135 million payroll jobs. And they’re not just pencil-pushing, useless cushy benefit collectors – but scientists. There are no private sector astronauts. None. Firefighters are government employees, as are police. “More cops on the streets” means more government trained and compensated people in your community. The district attorneys, judges and bailiffs draw an Uncle Sam signed paycheck. The government? Law and order.

The second largest employer in the country is the United States Postal Service. Try telling the lady raising her family by delivering your overdue notices that the government can’t create jobs.

According to the Department of Labor, the private sector has been steadily adding jobs and the PUBLIC sector has been cutting jobs at the fastest rate in 30 years. Especially local government jobs: teachers, sanitation workers and librarians.

So the government does, in fact, create jobs. It also slashes them. Cities and states have been balancing their budgets by cutting back on everything. Most infamously Camden, New Jersey is eliminating half of their police force.

To those who work for a living, a job is a job. To those who sloganeer for a living, cutting jobs means magically creating them.

It seems government workers are the new illegal immigrants. They are the new group who are treated like parasites on the system; their jobs are illegitimate and disposable. Lawmakers gleefully talk about eliminating government employees’ livelihoods. The rhetoric would have us believe those aren’t even jobs.

It’s not the banksters and hucksters on Wall Street who wrecked our economy. No, now they’re the only ones who can save us! It’s not a general revenue slow down tied to a collapse after the Saturnalia of liar loans and real estate cheats. It’s those comfortable public servants who are bleeding us dry!

We’re told we’re bankrupt because of well-paid government employees with “Cadillac health insurance plans.” Yes, we still refer to posh things as an American made car from a company, GM, which the U.S. government saved and made profitable again.

So everyone who makes an actual Cadillac can thank the government for their job.

tina dupuyOut of our $3.5 trillion annual budget we dole out around $1.5 trillions on “defense” spending. It really should be considered “offense” spending these days, but I digress. There are some accounting tricks with mandatory and discretionary spending. But added up: it’s $1.5 trillion.

What is the military? Jobs. Careers too. Plus a retirement plan and socialized medicine. It’s a jobs program the government created. It’s also a big wasteful unaccountable sieve for tax dollars. If the GOP-controlled House is really looking to weed out pork (which they arguably are not) they would check out the bacon haven we call the Pentagon.

But, better to stick with the empty and symbolic than tackle the difficult.

Tina Dupuy
Taking Eternal Vigilance Too Far


  1. RPadd says

    OK. Everybody is jumping up and down about the ‘FatCat’ pensions cops and firemen get. Look, nobody on the ground level is getting rich. There are a few who make more money by working 30-40 hours of overtime each week when they can, but the majority do not. Actually, most overtime shifts are drying up due to budget changes. As far as the salary/benefit issue, most Cops and Firemen I know are willing to negotiate and take a little less. It’s needed right now and most realize that. Some Police and Fire Departments have already taken action in advance and made deep self-imposed cuts to keep their Departments out of a fiscal crisis during budget shortfalls. Of course, you don’t hear about that much. It’s easier to just say ‘those damn cops and firemen’ are the real problem, because that’s what you heard on the News Channel. Yep, there’s a bunch of us living in Malibu and Beverly Hills…..;>
    Let me ask a question that a lot of folks are asking lately but that the media and politicians don’t apparently want to discuss. California continues educating, subsidizing, feeding and medically treating disproportionate scores of illegals and career welfare recipients. This alone is costing a fortune. Add in special programs from special interests and you have ALOT of excess funds being thrown to the wind. Our prisons are overflowing and we pay more to house prisoners than most any other state….sometimes twice as much as some other states.
    Should cops and firemen, hard workers that risk personal safety every day, have money taken from their pockets when the State of California spends so freely on people who frankly, don’t do anything for the greater good? Nobody recognizes the need to give to those truly in need better than cops and firemen…many Police and Fire Departments are responsible for raising huge sums of cash for numerous charities every year. Many freely and independently take money from their pockets during a shift and give it to someone that really has need. But frankly, there is just so much to go around, and the end of the line can’t be seen because people keep jumping into the line….it’s just getting longer and longer. If you were in a lifeboat that could only hold 50 people safely, what good does it do anyone to take 50 more on board? The boat is going to sink, and everyone will end up dead. Sure you want to take 50 more and help them out. Unfortunately, the boat manufacturer only made enough space for 50. Period. Sometimes you simply have to do what has to be done.
    Trim the special programs, crazy political spending and the endless dole-outs first…then come to us for pay and benefit cost reductions. If you start getting serious about cutting back those things, then we will be happy to cut back. But something tells me that if just those problems were handled, you wouldn’t need to come to us.
    Think about this…..police and fire are already having a tough time in the recruitment arena, even with a bad economy. Even if budgets allowed Departments to start hiring new people, there aren’t enough people applying for these jobs. People know these are risky occupations with little thanks coming your way for that risk. Now they see the possibility of salaries, medical coverage and pensions being cut. The BIG reason the public sector attracts a smart, good, dedicated hard-working guy or gal over the private sector is because of the benefits….good medical, a decent salary, and a guarantee that at the end of his or her career, there will be a reasonably good pension. Most cops or firemen don’t live long after retirement, folks. Many die within 5-10 years…all those hazardous conditions take a toll after 20 or 30 years. Heart trouble, lung cancer from smoke filled buildings, old injuries from one too many fights with bad guys….It’s no picnic out there, but you get good people that are responsible to be your public safety workers because the benefits make it attractive. Once you start cutting benefits, pensions, medical, salaries….YOU are going to get what YOU pay for. If you allow politicians to sway your vote to go cheap, you are going to start to see people that are far below the standard, because the good folks will go into the private sector instead of risking their safety and future. In the past year, my agency alone has had many more applicants that are rejected. People with no previous experience, people with a shady past, people that really don’t care about being a cop or fireman, they just want the paycheck. Are these really the kind of people that you want to trust your rights, property and safety to? Think about it.

  2. annieR says

    I was a federal government employee for more than 40 years, after which I retired with a very modest pension. My husband died 12 years ago of an Agent-Orange-related cancer. While I continued to work after his death, I received part of his social security. When I retired and my income was reduced, I no longer received that social security payment. It is called double-dipping (receiving 2 government pensions or the Windfall provision). I paid into social security when I worked outside of the government and have enough quarters to receive a social security payment on my own. Because of the Government Offset provision, my pension would have to be much smaller or my social security payment much larger to receive both payments. I don’t even mind this. I don’t begrudge my social security payments helping others. However, I do mind the refusal to enact means testing for social security. If what I’m subject to isn’t “means testing,” I don’t know what it is.

  3. annieR says

    Speaking of scientists, the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) employs about 2000 scientists, almost all PhDs. Much of their research is long-term, high-risk that private companies won’t undertake. These scientists could make more money in the private sector, but one of the attractions of the ARS is that scientists’ programs, once peer-reviewed outside the agency, are funded for 5-year increments. This relieves the scientists from spending valuable research time writing annual grant proposals. Go online and look at the “ARS Hall of Fame” for some of the world-class ARS scientists over the years.

  4. Pam says

    Every time I drive down a road and don’t get hit by a car stopped at a stop sign, I thank the government for its implied coercion. A snow plow just drove by–thank you!! And I am not telling anybody that they don’t work hard and earn their pay.

  5. says

    Tina’s elementary article is a rather mundane reminder of a common-sense observation: that government spends money (or doesn’t) and thereby hires folks (or doesn’t) just like a private employer.

    [Of course, government being government, it gets most of its income from use of implied coercion. On the other hand, its main product bundle – non-anarchy – is of great value to most of its customers.]

    But the article is still highly profound and intelligent compared with comments like Mike’s complaining retort – that government just ‘redistributes’. Demagogues and know-nothings love this sort of complaint – and often make it about other ‘unproductive middlemen’ roles, not merely government: like traders and business managers. For the know-nothing, these middlemen really do nothing ‘productive’ either – they certainly don’t make things, they don’t do real jobs. Traders just redistribute goods and money, managers just redistribute effort.

    The know-nothing ‘just redistributes’ put-down of government fails to note that when money is redistributed from those who don’t need it or won’t spend it to those that do, the result is to enable and sustain a lot of jobs.

    (Of course, some folks are unhappy about the common-sense nature of the fact that redistribution can create or sustain jobs. So these folks seek to dismiss the facts – or to elevate them into an academic heaven – by calling them ‘Keynesian theory’.)

    The ‘just redistributes’ put-down also fails to account for government jobs where people actually do make things (if the jobs haven’t been contracted out), everything from signs to ships.

  6. mike says


    You seem to be a little confused. Basically it boils down to this….government is just a redistributor. Where does the money come from to pay the salieries for those “jobs”. That’s where the magic of government comes in. Government pays for the “jobs” by taking money from others, who are productive,(by force by the way) and gives it to others. Hence it has created nothing…just redistributed someone elses hard work.

    • Ryan says

      That’s some crazy circular logic you’ve got going there mike. Businesses need government services to operate, roads, police, fire departments, teachers, financial regulations that prevent monopolies. You can spew your conservative rhetoric about how your are “forced” to give money to the government, but in the end you need those institutions in place to keep society functioning. Secondly the mantra that ‘hard working americans’ are infallible victims of the government overlords is ridiculous. We are taxed at a VERY reasonable rate(about 34%) compared to the rate we were taxed after WW2 (almost 90%!!). What has changed since then? We have no manufacturing industry anymore, we have been slowly becoming more and more financially destitute, reliant on foreign aid to survive. Government is run by the PEOPLE. The same people who work for a living, they are taxed the same as anyone else. What possible incentive do they have to be evil than someone who works in the private sector? Your poorly thought out argument makes me a little sad at how freaking partisan our country has become. Sure government isn’t perfect, but what would you rather have, a government employee in charge of your healthcare, who possibly isn’t doing the best job, compared with a private sector health insurer, who makes bonus/promotions for denying care to people who legitimately need it. phew.

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