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The Burden – Kevin D. Williamson

08/22/2011

There are about 12.4 million local-government employees in these United States, with a monthly payroll of about $51 billion. There are about 4.4 million state-government employees, with a monthly payroll of about $19.4 billion. And there are about 3 million federal employees, with a monthly payroll of about $15 billion. (For detailed figures, the Census: The federal numbers are from 2009; it’s worse now.)

More than 50 million Americans are on Medicaid. More than 100 million Americans receive health-care benefits at public expense, either through entitlement programs such as Medicaid and Medicare or through benefit programs for government employees.

So that’s a public sector of about 20 million government employees administering a welfare state with at least 100 million clients (and here I’m just combining Social Security and Medicaid, to avoid double-counting). Another way to say that is that 40 percent of the U.S. population is living at the expense of the other 60 percent (and it probably is more like half and half). More than a third of working-age U.S. adults are unemployed, and the central government is the largest employer. Economically speaking, we’re a fighter with one hand tied behind his back …

Read More at National Review.

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