I recently saw an article that discussed the economic
conditions in Washington DC as compared to the rest of the country. Personal income and wages were far
higher in DC in comparison to any state.
In 2012, wages were 79 percent higher in DC than the national average
and employee benefits were 102 percent higher.
Meanwhile, the middle class in the country continues to
struggle, seeing real wages staying stagnant, or even declining.
There was never a bust in Washington DC. Most of the rest of the U.S. saw
increased unemployment, a bursting housing bubble, and overall tough economic
times. But DC has managed to
escape most of that up to this point.
It is not surprising when we think that the federal
government collects nearly $4 trillion a year. It does not have to worry about balancing the budget like
state and city governments do. The
politicians in DC can keep running huge deficits as long as the Federal Reserve
is willing to fund them.
I think more Americans are waking up to the reality that
they are getting the short end of the stick. They struggle to find work, and when they do find it, they
are often required to work overtime or do stressful jobs that don’t pay a lot. But they can see that many government
workers are not under the same pressure, particularly those working for the
federal government. For this, I do
not include the military, which can obviously be stressful.
I sometimes hear liberty advocates write off government
workers in terms of making allies.
They are sometimes painted with a broad brush. Obviously, most government workers do not want to give up a
We do need to be careful in how we stereotype people. I don’t think we should assume that
most government workers will never be friends of the liberty movement.
In fact, some government workers may be even more prone to
the ideas of liberty because of where they work. If you see the bureaucracy five days a week, you probably
aren’t going to constantly defend it.
Most government workers aren’t in their job because they
love government and the way it operates.
In most cases, it is simply survival and out of self-interest. How many people do you know who would
turn down a job that is less stressful and pays more and has great benefits?
Some people take government jobs because they are otherwise
limited in their field of work. If
you are a teacher, you are sometimes quite limited in working outside of
There are many government workers who understand that
government is too big, too wasteful, and can’t solve our problems. They understand this because they see
it for themselves.
There are some people in the military who become anti-war
after fighting in one. They see
the horrors of war and realize it isn’t all glamorous as they once thought.
It is the same with many other government workers. They see the red tape. They see the inefficiency. They see the wasted money. Sometimes they even see the corruption.
Many of these workers are just playing along. They want to collect their next
paycheck, so they don’t rock the boat.
But this doesn’t mean they support the whole system.
There will come a time when you see more government workers
turn against the government itself.
There will eventually come a time when there are cuts made in DC
too. It will rain on the party
It is likely not sustainable for a group of people to keep
living at the expense of others, particularly when it is so obvious. You will either see some people revolt,
or you will simply see a drain on wealth where there is no longer enough to be
As Margaret Thatcher pointed out, the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money. Yes, that is a problem for those on the receiving end. Either the middle class will run out of money to fund DC or they will run out of patience and put an end to it.