sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Draining the Swamp?

Will it be possible for President Trump's Administration to drain the swamp during a four-year term in office? The answer to the question is that he may be able to chip away at it, but the business of America is government. The monster is just that big.

How big? (I hear you ask)

Federal government spending accounts for about 22% of the total economy. The states add another 11% of direct spending. To get a clearer picture, we must include the government-driven health industry (12%), the government-driven defense industry (3%) or the government-driven banking and insurance industries (4%). That's 52% of the total US economy. If you include the time/cost that businesses must endure to comply with federal regulations, the cost of government is far higher than 52%. Some experts put the spending and expense of government at about two thirds of the total economy. 

It takes a lot of employees to regulate 2/3 of the national economy.

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) accounted for the 22,213,000 government employees in August 2016 in this way:  2,790,000 federal employees, 5,120,000 state government employees, and 14,303,000 local government employees.

BLS shows that manufacturing jobs peaked in June 1979 at 19,553,000. From August 2015 to August 2016 seasonally-adjusted manufacturing employment declined by 37,000--dropping from 12,318,000 last August to 12,281,000 this August.

Government employees in the United States outnumber manufacturing employees by 9,932,000, according to data released in September 2016 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The first step in making America great again is reversing that hugely lopsided number. But they are horribly out of balance.

Entitlements alone stagger the imagination with 65,000,000 Americans receiving food stamps (EBT). As others have suggested on this blog, standing in the line at the grocery store and watching people pay for fancy steaks and lobster tails with their EBT card is frustrating beyond belief. Scandal after scandal shows that if it wasn't for people paying for lap dances at the local strip club with EBT cards, some of those institutions would go out of business.

Since the business of America is government, there is little incentive for the government to reduce the number of people receiving benefits --- since the very employment of the social justice warriors requires that there be armies of people taking benefits. And EBT is only the very tip top of the iceberg.

It's a very very deep swamp.


13 comments:

  1. They'll run out of other people's money in the end and implode. Till then... good luck.

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    1. I hate to think of it in those bleak terms, but that's the path we're headed down. (sic transit gloria mundi)

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  2. Depressing. Every one of those tax sucking government bureaucrats (not to mention the very EVIL MSM) will fight tooth and nail to subvert anyone that messes with their little utopian existence. Whether it ends with a bang or a whimper, the final result won't be good.

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    1. President Trump plans to begin with having attrition reduce the number of federal employees with hiring freezes in place. It will drain a few inches of swamp water. Carl Icahn is in charge of reducing the number of federal rules and regulations that businesses have to deal with and that will take the water level down another foot or so. But it has a long way to go.

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  3. First, don't let the swamp get bigger. That he probably can do.

    Most government employees I know, or have known, aren't happy in their jobs but cling to them for the security they offer. An expanding economy might lure them into the private sector. Probably wishful thinking on my part. However, a robust private sector may decrease the number of people seeking government jobs.

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    1. That might happen. The project to drain the swamp is extremely complicated and will be met with utmost resistance...from Congress in particular.

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  4. Replies
    1. Just draining the State swamp in New Jersey would be one of those lifetime achievements.

      The Federal government swamp has quicksand and bodies buried everywhere - that could embarrass.

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  5. Back when I was in the military, a good economy ensured that recruits were hard to find. A poor economy let the military pick and choose. So a good economy will definitely take a bite out of the military.
    But our military is too weak right now - in many ways, annoyingly.

    A case in point - people were always getting out of the military and going to work for civilian companies, doing the same job (for the military) and getting paid at least three times more to do it. I never understood outsourcing to the civilian side and then paying out the nose for the same job - but it let them cut the military. False economy.

    Put in a few sump pumps and see what happens...

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    1. I don't think that cutting the military back further is a good idea. The Reagan doctrine led to military expansion and economic expansion out of the truly miserable Carter years.

      The subcontractor thing still bothers me. It extended to CIA where an employee would quit on day-one and would be back at the same job, same chair on day-two with double or triple the previous income. It was not confined to the military.

      My day job involves consulting for this or that outfit: public or private. I fly in first class, stay at a nice hotel, mumble out a bit of advice, fly away and mail an invoice. I could be cutting my own throat by suggesting that governments and companies not outsource. However, there will always be a bit of that even with a completely drained swamp.

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    2. Oh I definitely agree about the size of the military. We need to be back at the size of fighting a war on two fronts. Or more! Get rid of BRAC. Ugh.

      Huh. I didn't realize it happened in the civilian world, too. Where is the cost cutting in that?

      Ha. I think it will take so long to completely drain the swamp, you will have work as long as you want it.

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  6. One thing I think a lot of people have not taken into account is that in order to run his multi-billion dollar empire, Trump has had to become extremely knowledgeable about how government works. Every time he wants to do a gigantic deal, he has to deal with government regulation. He has first-hand experience, from the other side, of government incompetence and overreaching. I doubt he fails to understand what a vast undertaking this is.

    We as a nation also have to do our bit and straighten up our whole attitude about government and liberty, and, above all, we need to regain our moral compass. All the reforms in the world won't do us any good if we are not a moral and virtuous people. As John Adams said, our form of government is fit for no other kind of people.

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    1. In order to be a free people, we need to be a moral, virtuous and compassionate people. We have lost our rudder in the fog of progressive thought.

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