Open Thread: Obama Using Government Employment to Expand Base?
Today's starter topic: The rapid growth rate of people whose salaries are paid by the government is a worrisome trend that is about more than just an expansion of the state. As Paul Kengor notes at the American Spectator, an expanded government employee roster means more voters directly dependent on federal largesse which in turn means more guaranteed big government voters. Here's an excerpt from the piece:
The numbers show a massive increase in government jobs created over the last five months -- 621,000, to be exact, dwarfing private-sector job growth. Those new government jobs account for a staggering 73% of overall job growth. In all, it means that 20.6 million citizens now work for government, out of 143 million people employed in America -- or one in seven Americans.
This is exactly what Barack Obama and modern "progressives"/liberals want.
Indeed, the vision and policies and programs of progressives/liberals are rapidly generating a new government class that relies on government for its livelihood. The current such class -- the one that re-elected Barack Obama -- is comprised of federal workers; of state, county, and municipal workers; of employees in public-sector unions; of Americans collecting food stamps, welfare, and unemployment benefits; of those looking to government for their healthcare; and still more. They don't all vote Democrat, but many of them do. Incredibly, there is even a growing group of young women -- supple prey to demagogic Democrat politicians -- who are angrily expecting Uncle Sam to pay for their contraception and abortions.
We might be tempted to corral this new class into Mitt Romney's "47 percent," though the much-maligned Romney label probably underestimates the total. Likewise, these citizens might be targeted to Rush Limbaugh's "Santa Claus" category, though Rush, too, underestimated; after all, Santa Claus bears a mere gift or two once a year. He doesn't provide full-time paychecks.
Either way, these new Americans constitute a huge and expanding segment of the population -- and voters -- who are becoming not merely dependent upon government but dependent upon Democrats. The more dependent this group becomes, and the more it enlarges, the more it redounds to the political benefit and enshrinement of liberal-Democrat politicians. We can argue whether or not this is intentional by Democrats as a whole, or a deliberate tactic of the wider progressive/liberal agenda, but there is no denying that it is a political reality that liberal Democrats will "benefit" from.
All of these segments of the citizenry -- or, perhaps, constituencies -- have steadily expanded over the last 100 years of progressivism/liberalism, and have surged under Barack Obama. Under Obama, there are a record 47 million Americans on food stamps, up from 32 million at the start of his presidency; that's a 50-percent jump. The welfare rolls have exploded. Unemployment has not only increased but remains stuck and stagnant, with the actual unemployed around 15% and no doubt rising. (There are even 636,000 homeless Americans -- double the number from the Reagan years, and totally unreported by the media.) Not only does the huge number of federal workers continue to balloon, but so do employees joining public-sector unions beholden to Democrats: SEIU, AFSCME, teachers organized through the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association.