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Monday, July 05, 2010

A Growing Economy

Private companies experienced robust growth in the United States over the last ten years, adding over two million jobs to their payrolls. Businesses across the nation pooled their resources and chipped in to provide jobs with excellent pay, marvelous benefits and spectacularly good working hours. None of that minimum wage stuff when it came to THESE two million positions!

Or, in other words:
"Over the 10-year period between March 2000 and March 2010, the private sector lost over three million jobs, while the public sector gained nearly two million jobs"
Business leaders are like everyone else. They tend to act in their own best interests. Keep this in mind when you hear people talk about the incredible economic engine that is the American economy, because the American economy is an incredible economic engine. But, for at least the last century, that economy has been built, at least in part, on the indispensable incompetence of arrogant fools.

We all complain that government employment is nothing but a leech on the economy, useless positions which do nothing for businesses but whose salaries and benefits are paid for by businesses, thus dragging the general economy into the dirt.

It is true. Yet, if this were unequivocally bad, wouldn't it be in the best interests of business to make sure their own employees were well-informed about the virtues of small government? Wouldn't businesses spend millions of dollars to sway the opinions of all employed people towards self-reliance, good personal finance, and similar virtues? Wouldn't business always have done this? And if all employers always did this, how would contrary concepts arise?

Do we wish to argue that the same people who successfully sell millions of people on the virtues of a particular style of jeans or jeeps, who have successfully changed the lifestyles of millions of Americans for over a century, that these same business leaders are incompetent in selling the virtue of virtue? This seems unlikely.

Perhaps there is a reason business does not really like any of the virtues it extols.

The Corporate Dole
Consider what would happen if business were actually to follow the advice they so clamorously insist they would like to follow.

Imagine a business with a successful program of teaching their employees the virtues of self-reliance and good personal financial sense. What would such employees look like?

To begin with, they would not long remain employed. Employees who actually understand their rights and obligations, who actually take on and live adult responsibility, will soon leave the corporate paycheck. They will see flaws in the business plan of the people they work for. They will go off and start their own businesses, become competitors, remove themselves from the corporate dole.

A virtuous people is an entrepreneurial people.
Corporations don't like entrepreneurs.

Business doesn't just tolerate big government, it encourages big government, because big government is a necessary cost in limiting competition.

But big government doesn't just limit competition.

Government also serves as a flak-jacket, a way to outsource problems you don't want to deal with. Bureaucracy is famously a flak jacket for CEO's, a way to deny responsibility and blame it on faceless peons who can take the blame. The best flak jacket is a rental - if you can point to someone else's bureaucracy as the source of the problem, all the better.

So, yes, business chooses to hire a growing portion of its work force as government employees, that is to say, as leeches, because it beats having those same employees as competitors. As a bonus, when things go wrong, business can outsource the blame to the government. If the rabble, that is to say, if the employees, can be gotten angry enough at the government, the corporation will not be the sole focus of blame.

Better yet, precisely because government employee pay ultimately comes from the corporate paymaster, the government employee will create regulations, indeed, will create a veritable culture, that will stifle corporate competition, and, in a really beautiful turn of events, the nascent entrepreneurs can be made to pay for their own stifling through taxes. Wherever new avenues for competition rear their ugly heads, the government can be counted to cut off the heads and set fires to the neck stumps.

To this end, when hiring for a government position, it is critical to make sure you hire men and women who are arrogant, narcissistic, highly-educated idiots with a supreme sense of self. If they do not begin so, they must at least become so during the course of their training for the job and their time in the job. Only these kinds of people can be expected to endure the constant well-deserved insults for doing what they are best at doing: being incompetent.

Government is a corporation with a critically important set of tasks. It's job is to stifle competition and be the scapegoat for all that goes wrong. And precisely because it is incompetent, precisely because it is staffed by incompetents, precisely because it is both powerful and incompetent, it truly is to blame for stifling competition, for general incompetence. It is supremely suited to its task, which is why it is so successful.

Government growth really took off in this country at the same time that corporate growth took off. Both began their meteoric growth for the same reason: they need one another. When a company spins off a subsidiary, that subsidiary continues to work with the original company. It does real work, but it really is independent of the original company. Government is a spin-off of the corporate world.

So, the next time you hear corporate leaders lament the increase of government jobs at the expense of the private sector, keep all this in mind.

Incompetence and scapegoating have been America's fastest growing industry for the last several decades, and, especially under this president, it shows no signs of abating.


Emil Berbakov said...

Wow! Excellent post.

Patrick said...

The majority of the job growth at the fed level appears to be Census related, from all the articles I've read. If that is indeed the case, I'm not sure what will hold up the job growth numbers next quarter.