Tough times in America: Who’s to blame?

Posted on April 8, 2010 by


By Orphe P. Divounguy

According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, 703,050 people are considered non-farm employees in the Washington DC area of which approximately 234,000 work in the public sector, 33.3% of the labor force.  Wages are the highest in the District of Columbia at $32.37 per hour, on average.  403,800 people are non-farm employees in South Dakota of which 77,100 are employed by the public sector, 19.1% of the labor force.  This is a good example of how government “crowds out” the private sector.   In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that South Dakota has the lowest average wage in the country at $16.53 per hour.  The conclusion I draw is that on average, government employees earn more than private sector employees. Our hard earned tax dollars are lining the pockets of government employees.  Well documented evidence of this abuse of taxpayers dollars can be viewed on Cato institute’s Dan Mitchell website in a series of articles entitled Taxpayers vs. bureaucrats.  Dan Mitchell is a prominent economist and a senior fellow at the Cato institute, one of the leading think tanks in Washington DC.

According a Gallup poll published in February 2010, South Dakota is second on the list of states where residents are the most satisfied with their standard of living regardless of having the lowest average wages in the country.  Despite the fact that American workers bear a high tax burden to pay for large, costly and for the most part, inefficient government bureaucracies, residents of states with a larger portion of the labor force dedicated to a vibrant private sector are more productive and enjoy a better standard of living.  States which perform better according to economic indicators are states that have a smaller portion of their labor force working for the local, state or federal government.  

A small note that is very interesting and somewhat relevant to this article: the unemployment rate in the private non-farm sector in Washington DC is 11.9% compared to the national average of 9.7% and only 4.8% in South Dakota.  This leads me to conclude that a strong private sector is a solid indicator of low unemployment and a better standard of living.   

References from which I obtained the facts are as follow: