If you want to understand better why so many states--from New York to
Wisconsin to California--are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy,
consider this depressing statistic: Today in America there are nearly
twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in
all of manufacturing (11.5 million).
This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there
were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a
paycheck from the government.
It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in
construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and
utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to
a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and
local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of
state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and
cities cannot pay their bills?
Every state in America today except for two--Indiana and Wisconsin--
has more government workers on the payroll than people manufacturing
industrial goods. Consider California, which has the highest budget
deficit in the history of the states. The not-so Golden State now has an
incredible 2.4 million government employees--twice as many as people at
work in manufacturing. New Jersey has just under two-and-a-half as many
government employees as manufacturers. Florida's ratio is more than 3
to 1. So is New York's.