American Elephants

The Way Things Work. by The Elephant's Child

Andrew Stuttaford excerpted this pertinent bit in the Corner at National Review Online, from a recent longer piece in Reason magazine by Steven Greenhut.   It’s worth repeating and considering.

The United States had 2.3 state and local government employees per 100 citizens in 1946 and has 6.5 state and local government employees per 100 citizens now. In 1947, Hodges writes, 78 percent of the national income went to the private sector, 16 percent to the federal sector, and 6 percent to the state and local government sector. Now 54 percent of the economy is private, 28 percent goes to the feds, and 18 percent goes to state and local governments. The trend lines are ominous.

Bigger government means more government employees. Those employees then become a permanent lobby for continual government growth. The nation may have reached critical mass; the number of government employees at every level may have gotten so high that it is politically impossible to roll back the bureaucracy, rein in the costs, and restore lost freedoms. People who are supposed to serve the public have become a privileged elite that exploits political power for financial gain and special perks. Because of its political power, this interest group has rigged the game so there are few meaningful checks on its demands. Government employees now receive far higher pay, benefits, and pensions than the vast majority of Americans working in the private sector. Even when they are incompetent or abusive, they can be fired only after a long process and only for the most grievous offenses.

It’s a two-tier system in which the rulers are making steady gains at the expense of the ruled. The predictable results: Higher taxes, eroded public services, unsustainable levels of debt, and massive roadblocks to reforming even the poorest performing agencies and school systems. If this system is left to grow unchecked, we will end up with a pale imitation of the free society envisioned by the Founders.

This British Parody Cracked Me Up! Too True. by The Elephant's Child
January 29, 2010, 11:12 pm
Filed under: Politics

Language alert!  Surely you know someone like this.  The best parodies capture a bit of reality.

(h/t: Planet Gore NRO)

Creating and Destroying Jobs the Massachusetts Way. by The Elephant's Child
January 29, 2010, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Taxes | Tags: , ,

States make a real mistake when they focus their economic policies on working to entice out-of-state businesses to relocate in their state. Efforts to nurture home-grown entrepreneurs and companies would result in more economic growth, according to a new study in Massachusetts from the Pioneer Institute, a conservative think tank.

The study found that job growth in Massachusetts had stagnated over the past 18 years largely because the state’s economy had not created enough new companies.  The study also found that Massachusetts start-ups are employing far fewer workers than in the past. Between 1990 and 2002, each new firm created an average of seven jobs, but in the last few years the average has declined to fewer than four jobs.

In any given year, company relocations generated just a fraction of the jobs created by start-ups. The number of new jobs created has not kept up with those lost when older companies shut down.  There is no guarantee of business success, skillful management or enthusiastic customers.

Successful states create a climate conducive to business success — low taxes, few regulatory hurdles, and an attitude that promotes and nurtures entrepreneurs.  We often see states romancing large firms located elsewhere, offering vast subsidies, in the hopes of landing a new division or a new plant. while burdening existing small businesses with burdensome taxes.  Well-known names may seem glamorous, but it may be far better  to take good care of your own people and encourage their creativity and enthusiasm.

The Beauty of Birds! by The Elephant's Child
January 29, 2010, 3:35 am
Filed under: Art, Freedom | Tags: , ,

Photographer Andrew Zuckerman is famous for focusing attention completely on his subjects by photographing them against a pure white background. It captures the amazing beauty of his subjects.  Enjoy!

(h/t: Kim Komando)

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