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Re: [FSP] Per capita government employment

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  • Gary Snyder
    ... (snip) Tim, it doesn t matter what you call these entities, and it doesn t matter what form they take. The only thing that matters in this regard is
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 27, 2008
      > Lobbyists are not unionized. Lobbyists are not "feet-on-the- street."
      > Lobbyists are not the shock-troops that public employees and their unions
      > are. And lobbyists tend to cluster in Washington, DC and state capitols
      > only.


      Tim, it doesn't matter what you call these entities, and it doesn't matter what
      form they take. The only thing that matters in this regard is whether or not
      the government has the ability (the resources and power) to buy votes. If
      they have this ability, no amount of capping of its hiring capacity will dent
      government's cost and scope.

      The problem with government isn't with where and how it allocates the money
      it steals. It will always allocate that stolen money to its own end, regardless
      of whether caps on its hiring capacity are implemented. The problem is that
      it is sanctioned to steal the money in the first place. If it has (or seizes) that
      sanction, there will be no shortage of outlets, no shortage of those lining up
      for a piece of the pie.


      Tim Condon <tim@...> wrote:

      On Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 5:39 PM, Gary Snyder <gsnyder15@...> wrote:

      > Doesn't address government contracts. If the government is capped in its
      > hiring capacity, it'll simply dole out contracts and accomplish the same
      >--- Gary

      Tim Condon <tim@...> wrote:
      That may be, Gary, but private contractors don't establish a
      phalanx of direct, unionized government employees demanding more money and
      more power...and willing to go out on the streets to make it a reality.
      ---Tim Condon

      On Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 2:32 AM, Gary Snyder <gsnyder15@...> wrote:

      Correct, their "establish[ment]" instead consists of an army of lobbyists
      demanding the same thing. ---Gary


      Lobbyists are not unionized. Lobbyists are not "feet-on-the-street."
      Lobbyists are not the shock-troops that public employees and their unions
      are. And lobbyists tend to cluster in Washington, DC and state capitols

      In my estimation, the premier issue that has faced all human beings since
      the beginning of civilization is how to restrain some groups (usually thugs
      and criminals) from amassing ever more power, declaring themselves
      "governments," and living off of the productive efforts of all human beings
      who are not part of the resulting "government class." The Founding Fathers
      made a valiant and largely effective effort to solve this problem in 1787
      with the U.S. Constitution. It was effective for about 150 years (nothing to
      dismiss lightly), until about 1936 under Roosevelt, when the Constitutional
      plan started to unravel and the walls were breached. By 30 years later, in
      1965, the break in the walls had become critical, enabling a
      government-growth tsunami. This process of the growth of government is
      driven by one thing: Ever more people becoming dependent upon government for
      their financial sustenance. It includes welfare and social security
      recipients, but most of all what is driving it is employment at all levels
      of government, local, state, and federal. Long-term welfare recipients
      cannot be depended upon to go "into the streets" to make demands for ever
      more money. For the most part they are (thankfully) either unwilling or
      unable. Social security recipients make a huge political constituency, but
      they are overwhelmingly elderly, and also cannot be depended upon to do the
      work "on the streets" necessary to create conditions for continued political
      victories which ratchet up demand for government taxing, spending, and
      power. The single most important constituency to continually expand
      government power at all levels is through unionized (and thus disciplined
      and organized) government employees. They have the most direct interest in
      continued government growth. They are generally younger, more educated, more
      energetic, and more aware of what conditions need to be created and what
      political victories must be won to benefit themselves and their families.

      The above dynamic was exactly why Sen. Tom Daschle fought tenaciously (and
      successfully) against President George W. Bush to make sure that the latest
      huge new federal bureaucracy, "Homeland Security," would be federal
      employees instead of privately contracted companies, as was originally
      favored by Bush (probably because he was so advised by those who understood
      the problem). But Bush had no real understanding of the stakes, and probably
      no great desire to prevent further government growth anyway. His tepid
      objections were easily defeated by Daschle and the Democrats, who knew
      exactly what they were fighting for. The same dynamic is behind the
      insistent and continued Democrat demands for amnesty for illegal aliens:
      They see future welfare recipients, voters, and even feet-on-the-street
      political activists who will support the continued growth of government
      taxing and spending.

      The problem identified above is that there exists a "Government Class"
      consisting of all who look to government (at any level) for their
      sustenance. The Government Class feeds off of all who are not part of the
      class, i.e. everyone else (those who are independent, who work, who pay
      taxes, and who support their families and communities). Let's call them the
      "Working Class." The problem for the Working Class is to figure out the best
      way to stop the apparently inevitable growth of government taxing, spending,
      and hiring at all levels driven by the above dynamic. Past attempts have
      involved state constitutional tax limitations (such as Prop. 13 in
      California), statutory spending limitations (such as Gramm-Rudman, which was
      easily pushed aside), and constitutional spending limitations (such as TABOR
      plans, including that which passed in Colorado...which has easily been
      breached by the Government Class in that state).

      In short, neither constitutional nor statutory spending limitations, nor tax
      limitations, have worked. Nor have state constitutional prohibitions against
      state income taxes such as exist in Florida, Texas, and three or four other
      states. State government size and spending in those states have grown
      greatly, although not as fast as in those states that have far more taxing

      So what are other potential solutions? What other machinery can be
      constructed to slow, or even stop and eventually reverse the accellerating
      growth of government in America?

      I would like to examine state constitutional limits on government employment
      per capita. That is, state government (and, ideally, local governments also)
      would be prohibited from having more than X number of employees for a given
      population. It could be expressed as a percentage ("the number of state
      government employees may not exceed .1% of the population") or as a ratio
      ("no level of government in this state shall have any more than 1 emloyee
      per 1,000 residents"). Of course, the Government Class would strive to lock
      in the present bloated size of government by measuring what the current
      ratio of government employees to population is. This is why I'd like to
      gather information on the ration of government employees to population in
      America in, say 1860, then 1932, then 1965, then 1980, etc. My guess is that
      a reasonable ratio would be found on one of those earlier years.

      The constitutional imposition of such a limitation would create many
      salutary effects: (1) It would deprive government of disciplined, organized,
      public employee union activists; (2) it would decrease the ostensible "need"
      for ever higher taxes; (3) it would decrease the ostensible "need" for ever
      higher government spending; (4) and it would inevitably decrease the number
      of votes for more government growth, taxing, and spending.

      Such a plan might work...or it might not. However, we know that taxing and
      spending limitations have failed, and usually can't even get passed due to
      the increasing size and power of the Government Class. Per capita employment
      limits might even be an easier "sell" because existing government employees
      would get a larger share of tax monies for themselves. In fact, the proposal
      could be coupled with a carrot for current government employees: If the per
      capital government employment limitation is passed, every government
      employee remaining could be promised a handsome raise. Generous buy-outs of
      existing government employees could also be made part of the plan, in order
      to decrease opposition and effect huge savings into the future.

      One difficulty in passing such a limit would be that existing government
      employees and their unions would create as much pain and disruption to the
      public as possible, passing it off as the natural result of a terrible
      "unworkable" idea. The solution to *that* problem might be to include a free
      hiring-and-firing proposal for government employees (since they are, after
      all, employees of a monopoly, which introduces all kinds of additional
      considerations for the protection of the public and their "customers," the
      taxpayers). Thus, government employee saboteurs and disruptors would be
      allowed to be expeditiously replaced.

      The best case scenario is this: A state constitutional limitation on number
      of government employees at the state level, the county level, the town
      level, and the school district level is put in place. The resulting decrease
      in the number of government employees causes a decrease in agitation and
      activism in favor of taxing and spending at all levels of government in the
      state. As a result, opponents of increased taxing and spending gain power,
      and manage to stem and reverse the tide. With a decrease in taxing and
      spending, the state's economy and standard of living surges. Similar
      limitations are taken up in other states, with similar salutary effects.
      Ultimately a United States Constitutional amendment is passed, with the same
      effect on the national scene that individual states have experienced, led
      by New Hampshire. America then experiences a rebirth of individual and
      economic freedom, resulting in an explosion of work, creativity, invention,
      entrepreneurialism, and growth reaching all the way through the 21st century
      and into the future.

      Call me a dreamer if you want to. That's a common epithet directed at
      Freestaters. Nevertheless, nothing else has worked up to this point. It's
      time to try something new. And it might just work. Not only work, but
      provide a template for freedom and justice into the future.

      WRITTEN BY: ---Tim Condon (Who wishes to thank Gary Snyder for making the
      objections he made above, thus stimulating further thought and sparking this

      > > Tim Condon <tim@...> wrote:
      > > NEED SOME DATA
      > >
      > > I'm considering the idea of a per capita employment cap for government
      > > employees as a way of stemming the growth of government in the Free
      > State.
      > > Most attacks on the seemingly unstoppable growth of government in the
      > past
      > > have been through either tax caps or spending caps. I'm unaware of any
      > > state that has a government employee cap tied to state population. One of
      > the
      > > data points that the Free State Project used prior to voting on the state
      > was
      > > that of government employees per capita. But I need a series of figures,
      > > for any state that has them, and/or for the federal government. That is,
      > what
      > > was per capital government employment prior to 1932 when Roosevelt was
      > > elected? What was it in 1960 when Kennedy was elected? What was it in
      > 1980
      > > when Reagan was elected? What was it in 2000 when Bush was elected? And
      > > what are the current figures?
      > >
      > > Instead of the spending caps and taxing caps, both of which are
      > inevitably
      > > breached when the government constituencies get large and loud enough, a
      > > per capita government employment cap would prevent the constituencies
      > > themselves from growing. Plus it attacks the socialists at the heart of
      > > their plan, i.e. to have as many people dependent upon government money
      > as
      > > possible, and to constantly fight to increase that number.
      > >
      > > Can any direct me to where I can find out the above information?
      > >
      > > Timothy Condon
      > > 12 Liberty Lane
      > > Grafton, NH 03240
      > > Email tim@...

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