Oregon Magazine

How to Instantly and Dramatically Reduce the Cost of Government Without Firing a Single Government Employee    by Larry Leonard, Paris Bureau Chief

March 26, 2011 -- To begin with, let's look at jobs.  How much does it cost the taxpayer if you get a job in the private sector?

Unless the employer makes things for the government or takes government subsidies (certain types of agriculture for example), beyond the usual goverment services like police and fire fighters, the cost to the taxpayer is very little if anything. Your local grocery store or gasoline station  prices, are determined in but a small way by their taxation levels.  If you're in a suburban or urban area, then water and sewer connections will be in there, too, but in the end the other expenses far outweigh the government payments.

Then, you have your government job.  100% of a government job is financed at public expense.    

A private company needs a place to perform a service or manufacture a product.  It needs various kinds of machines and people to do the work.  These are financed by various private financial devices.  Most of them fall generally into the realms of stocks or private bonds.  Private people and organizations of various types purchase these stocks and bonds in hopes of gaining profit or earning interest on their investment.

None of that costs you a dime.

But, a public agency needs a place to work and the equipment to do it, as well.  Since a government agency of any kind may not make a profit, stocks cannot be used to get the money to finance the operation.  That leaves government revenues as the financial support.  Tax revenues and future tax revenues in the form of government bonds.

What do government revenues provide?

Land:  If it has always been government land, the cost to the taxpayers is zero.  One could say the cost here is to the Indian tribes which originally used the property, but that is incorrect.  The term "Native Americans" is not correct as presently applied.  No living American Indian is any more a "native" than any other human who was born here as the child of parents who were also born here, or who have immigrated from elsewhere and by way of the required tests and rituals become an American citizen.

Just as a fun aside, the reason for this is that contrary to commen parlance,  Native Americans (members of the various tribal groups such as Sioux, Cree, Crow, Apache, etc.) are not descendants of the first people to live in North America.  The present understanding of American history is due to archeological explorations which have provided evidence of at least one human group here prior to the Indians.  These are called the "Clovis" people.  There may have been other groups here prior to them, as well.

So, the most one can say about the cost of land, here, is that other than the twenty bucks or so the first European settlers paid for Manhattan island,  most of the property your new government agency will use was, like your present taxes, an involuntary donation by the current residents at the time.  If the Clovis people were still around when the Indians got here, then it is they who made the original involuntary land donations.  Original means "original," and Native Americans weren't. 

Facililties and equipment: Buildings, shops, warehouses, offices, tools, supplies, etc.  In a private sector operation, the investors provide the money for these.  In a government sector operation, the taxpayer must provide the funds.

Workforce:  Tax revenues pay for all the costs related to people.

And, here's the really interesting thing ... 

You, the private, non-government citizen, pay your taxes and their taxes.

Take a moment and think about things.  Let's say that not all large American private companies are friends of and financial contributors to the present federal executive and legislative branch rulers -- the folks in government who have the numbers or the constitutional power to decide things.  Let's say that, unlike General Electric, many private barbershops and grocery stores don't have access to the kinds of special IRS rules which allow billions in corporate income to be free from taxation.

This means some private corporations get breaks that other private corporations don't get.  It's called "crony" capitalism. (Government favors for private economy friends.)  G.E. "invests" in things which the present "Greenie" Progressives in charge like.  It receives grants for going into this area, and tax-breaks on the income that results.

But, we're not to the point, here, yet ...

While most people are at least vaguely awere of this sort of thing, few people have figured out that it is small spuds compared to the government "worker" subsidy.  Unionized or not, all the taxes paid by all the people who work for any government job from President ot these United States to the janitor at the local City Hall are subsidized 100% by the private sector.  If you work for a non-government company, that means you.

That's right.  You pay 100% of the cost of every single government employee, at every level of government, in the United States.  Even their taxes.

Well, the bureaucrat or government-union representative says, that's ridiculous.  Government workers are carrying their share of the load.  They are paying the same rates that you are.  At first glance, that is true.  At second glance it is not. 

Is there anybody out there who thinks that the taxes paid by government employees don't come entirely from non-government workers?  Is there a dime spent by any level of government for any service, product or employee that doesn't come from non-government workers?

We're there ... 

(If I were any good at this webmaster stuff, there would be a photo-shopped illustration right here.  It would be a flag flying over a government building like the White House or the Capitol Dome, but instead of the stars and stripes, the flag would be a billion dollar bill.  My apologies to you, dear readers, for my computer ineptitude.  It would have made you grin, and happy moments like that are not in good supply in America these days.)

Would you like to see the cost of government reduced instantly, and without the loss of a single government job?

Eliminate all taxation on government employees immediately, and reduce their salaries by that exact amount.  The reduction would not affect their take-home pay one penney.  Every dime of that reduction would reduce the cost of government to the actual taxpayers -- the private economy taxpayers.

(This assumes that the Tea Party people in Congress can do nothing more than freeze current government spending levels.  If they can cut some agencies and programs, well, we're talking about a new Federal holiday -- April 15th.

Our bet at Oregon Magazine is that this one will spin around in your head for a while.


© 2011 Oregon Magazine