With the on-going deficit battle in D.C, I’ve read various news articles of governmental bloat and the need to rein in spending. Now at a time of unprecedented economic malaise, with over 13 Trillion dollars of government debt, it is ironic that our government is even considering more spending. However, taking a look around me, it is fairly evident that if the Government ever stopped their spending binge, there would be blood in the streets here in New York. I’ve realized that a huge number of people around me get their bread and butter from the government whether directly or indirectly, and here’s how:
1. Welfare Recipients
In the New York Metro Area, something like 10-15% of the population is wholly dependent on welfare. After generations of living in the housing projects and feeding on government corn, I suspect that many welfare recipients have simply lost all ability to meaningfully provide for themselves. If these people don’t get their government rations for more than a few days, they would likely go on a looting rampage akin to the fine citizens of New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina.
2. Unemployment Insurance Recipients and Illegal Migrant workers
Something like 10% of New York Metro’s population is out of work and receiving unemployment insurance checks right now. Most of them have been out of work a year or more. Some of these people had productive/useful jobs which were outsourced to lower wage nations. But quite frankly, many of the unemployed used to provided unskilled labor in retail/service jobs that never had much real value in the first place, and of course was the first to be cut in the great recession of 2009. Now if their checks ever stopped, I would expect these people to find whatever jobs they could get their hands on. But unfortunately the only jobs available in such numbers would be low-paying menial labor jobs. Jobs that are currently taken by a vast underclass of Illegal Migrant Laborers. The Illegals are at least 10% of the population around here, and if left without jobs (and thus food), they would most certainly riot. So if those government UI checks ever stopped, either we have mass rioting or a trail-of-tears style mass deportation!
3. Government Employees
Amazingly, 10% of the city’s working age population is employed by the Government. These government jobs are REAL NICE. Government workers can expect working benefits that are now almost unknown in the private sector. Pensions, gold-platted medical insurance, and guaranteed annual raises makes for a happy public-sector worker. On the down side, great benefits do not resolve into great work productivity. With the exception of some essential services such as police, sanitation, or the fire department, most government sectors are incredibly inefficient. Take for example, the public school system around here. The quality of high school students turned out by the New York City Schools is ranked somewhere around 3rd world nations like China or Albania. If government workers are forced into the private sector, many if not most of them would be entirely uncompetitive. An organized, semi-educated, but economically unproductive population might make for some splendid violent mass demonstrations.
So there we have it, at least 35% of my little corner of the country is absolutely dependent upon the Government teat for their very survival. The government must keep borrowing money to spend it, the consequences of not doing so would be fatal. Ironically, the government is kind of like a severely addicted crack-head. He knows that if he keeps smoking crack, he is going to die in a couple of years. But if he stops today, he will most definitely die of withdraw in a week. At least…that is how I look at this situation. As always, opinions and comments are most welcomed!