Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on July 21, 2011

in Budget Issues, Current Affairs, Other People's Money, Politics, Reality Is Not Optional, Taxes

… is from the latest column in the Washington Post by the national treasure known as George Will:

Richard Miniter, a Forbes columnist, is right: “Obama is not the new FDR, but the new Gorbachev.” Beneath the tattered, fading banner of reactionary ["left-" (i.e., "not-") -DBx] liberalism, Obama struggles to sustain a doomed system. Democrats’ dependency agenda — swelling the ranks of government employees, multiplying government-subsidized industries, enveloping ever-more individuals in the entitlement culture — is buckling under an intractable contradiction: It is incompatible with economic growth sufficient to create enough wealth to feed the multiplying tax eaters.

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{ 134 comments }

Greg Webb July 21, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Yes, and like most fools (I.e., DG Lesvic), President Obama cannot admit that he is wrong and change his policies.

Tim July 22, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Ditto for John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and _______ <– insert name of GOP politician here. The Republicans are just as bad and will never admit they are wrong.

Martin Brock July 22, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Say what you like about him. Ron Paul doesn’t fill the blank. He had a great interview on The News Hour this week.

Richard Stands July 23, 2011 at 1:07 am

Agreed.

Sam Grove July 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Here’s a link to the interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXKrdE2x5og

Greg Webb July 23, 2011 at 12:27 am

Tim, the Republicans can be just as bad as the Democrats. The issue is not Democrats v. Republicans. Rather, the issue is the political class and their cronies v. the rest of us who have to pay for their folly.

Dan J July 23, 2011 at 1:10 am

Can’t argue with that.

Kirby July 23, 2011 at 9:15 am

I’m feeling Rand-y all of a sudden.

Greg Webb July 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Kirby, that is the problem…stop “feeling” and start thinking.

Kirby July 23, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Tell me the difference -as you meant- as it relates to my sentence and I will give you a cookie.

Greg Webb July 23, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Kirby, give yourself a cookie…you poor thing, you just don’t understand, do you?

anthonyl July 23, 2011 at 1:52 pm

We expect so much from one man. If we didn’t work so hard to make the office such a big deal it would be an easier job to accomplish. He is a fool but we support him in his foolishness. We want too much done by our federal government. It is reasonable to expect some mistakes.
Remember that segment from the Tonight Show where they would ask people on the street questions like what is the name of the president? Sometimes people didn’t know and that would be funny… I would like to live in a US where that would be common and not humorous. Who cares who the president is. It wouldn’t make one bit of difference to how you lead your life.

Mesa Econoguy July 22, 2011 at 12:07 am

Rich’s best (unpublished) quip, by far, was “Liberal cannibalism. Beautiful.”

muirgeo July 22, 2011 at 12:29 am

I can’t stand people who think they can just lie and think it’s ok to do so to make their supposed point. They must really not think much of their readers.

“…swelling the ranks of government employees…” George Will a liar and a supposed national treasure making up reality as he goes along. How pathetic.

From the BLS July 8th News Release;

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

Employment in both state government and local government continued to
trend down over the month and has been falling since the second half of 2008.

I believe the total number is close to a million. And guess what a lot of them are being “enveloped” into the entitlement culture.

I can gaurentee Mr Will the economy will NOT pick up until government hiring picks up. And I won’t have to lie about reality to prove I am right.

Dan J July 22, 2011 at 12:40 am

Federal govt has ballooned since Obama took office. Notice how states, who trimming govt jobs are finding themselves more solvent. As they become leaner, they will be able loosen their costly regulations and taxes allowing for more growth. The Obama admin is once again proving the unsustainability of big govt.

tdp July 22, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Republican run Virginia just announced yet another budget surplus, this time of $311 million. They have strong right-to-work laws, short legislative sessions, and refuse to cave to special interests. Gee, I wonder how they turn out balanced budgets year after year, even with those low tax rates?

Dan J July 22, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Well, that’s counterproductive to progressives. The population must be dependent on govt or else all is lost.

Kirby July 23, 2011 at 6:16 pm

and what is counterproductive to progressives is counterproductive to society. KILL THE VIRGINIANS!

Dan J July 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm

What did Virgins ever do to you. Martyrdom and get 72 of them……….

Yosef July 22, 2011 at 1:09 am

Ah, you beat me to it. Thank you though, for bringing this up.

Since Obama took office, total government employment is down by 500,000. Nice chart:
http://thinkprogress.org/yglesias/2011/07/08/263588/the-conservative-recovery-continues-2/

Remember, Obama must have increased the size of government. The fact that he hasn’t is irrelevant.

Dan J July 22, 2011 at 1:21 am
Dan J July 22, 2011 at 1:28 am
Yosef July 22, 2011 at 2:14 am

Hmm both of those are from Feb. 2010. If you look at the chart I linked it shows that spike around that time and a steady decline since then. Sorry to tell you, but there were things going on then.

Speaking of Politifact:
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/jul/11/paul-krugman/paul-krugman-says-government-jobs-have-fallen-half/

(Please note that I tried to find a recent link to, you know, be as accurate as possible and not cherry pick dates)

Dan J July 22, 2011 at 2:29 am

Thinkprogress?!?!? Ha! Might as well post a source like the Cuban sentinel.

muirgeo July 22, 2011 at 9:25 am

Isn’t it fun beating these guys up with history, facts and data and then watching them attempt to fill in the voids of reality that do not fit their religious dogma?

Jack Burton Mercer July 22, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Strawman alert. Obama has no impact on “total” government employment which includes states and locals. He can only influence Federal employment which has increased considerably, even according to your link above.

Treibs July 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm

No it doesn’t. If you read past the headline on your link you’ll see that Politifact rates this claim “False”.

Michael July 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm

You’re right that it says false, but it’s referring to a specific figure quoted by John Boehner. They aren’t denying an increase in Federal employment. Read the article more closely.

Dan J July 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm

You seem to have a comprehension problem. Politifact says boehners claim of 200,000 is false but acknowledges that over 107,000 new federal employees have been added to the ranks after shedding 50,000 temporary jobs from census.

And, as much as progressives want federal govt to have control over state and local govt employment, they don’t. Lowered state employment is NOT to be included on Obama admin resume. It is a distortion of facts, something liberals and progressives are accustomed to. NYT, Time mag, L.A. Times, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, etc.,.. Have taught this behavior to the brainwashed of progressives.
I think I hears Thomas Friedman calling out to his masses to read another article on the wonders of Chinese reorganizing society and the benefits from authoritarianism. Go progressives, read from your scripture.

Mesa Econoguy July 22, 2011 at 1:59 am
morganovich July 22, 2011 at 9:54 am

the real killer has been all the regulatory and tax uncertainty he has created which has frozen business.

government employment is not the only measure of big government. regulation and intrusiveness are another, and can do far more damage.

have a look at what happened to job creation the minute obamacare passed:

http://www.coyoteblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Heritage-Chart_thumb.jpg

you have also seen huge swelling in the welfare state through unemployment benefits extensions, food stamps, etc.

claiming obama has not increased government because employment is down is a pretty disingenuous way to frame the issue.

Yosef July 22, 2011 at 1:56 pm

That chart has been making the rounds, and its a sad way to try and present information. Notice that they y-axis is net change, and that the change in slope occurs close to crossing the 0 line. That is, the faster slope is more associated with slowing the loss of jobs and the slower slope with adding jobs.

Check out this chart which shows total employment before and after Obamacare:
http://thinkprogress.org/yglesias/2011/07/21/275117/having-plunged-previously-after-the-affordable-care-act-passed-private-sector-employment-increased/

Sorry, I don’t see that employment has suffered much at the hands of Obamacare

(note to Dan J: yes, I will gladly post links to thinkprogress if they have a chart with verifiable data)

Dan H July 22, 2011 at 2:18 pm

And the fastest expanding sectors? Healthcare and health insurance.

Tearing down other industries to prop up another is not a cause for excitement. In the long-run it kills growth.

Other industries that are hiring? Banking sector. Auto sector. GE. See a pattern here?

Dan J July 22, 2011 at 4:53 pm

How have you verified their data? A third party could easily say that the sources are competing dogmas. You spout a far left organization and I bring a center to right source.
Fact: federal employment is up.
Only u choose to dispute this using incorrect information. State and local employment is down. That is a good thing.
Full implementation of the communisitic Obamacare is far from being in place. Passage of the law is already having an effect.
Huge new costs of employing individuals are attributed to Obamacare. As always, govt mandated costs to employment play a larger role in Disincentivizng new hires.
My anecdote for the day is, once again, my contact who is responsible for relaying the new piece of legislations impact on businesses. It is a mess and businesses are outraged, according to my source. The proverbial ‘shit’ will hit the fan and the legislation will not stand in it’s current form. The democrats simply got their foot in the door for more socialism. Get ready for your medical care to suck. Any and all will suffer under huge costs leading to govt rationing and followed by stifled innovation and advancements.

Sam Grove July 22, 2011 at 1:16 am

When I first came across your postings here at Cafe Hayek, I did my best to explain a point of view with which you seemed unfamiliar.

You have finally persuaded me that your kind of progressivism is some variety of stupid, and certainly a good deal of intellectual dishonesty.

Mesa Econoguy July 22, 2011 at 1:20 am

Not even that, Sam, simple ignorance.

Occam’s razor.

maximus July 22, 2011 at 2:43 am

“Not even that, Sam, simple ignorance”

Not ignorance, arrogance. Hubris. etc, etc.

muirgeo July 22, 2011 at 9:29 am

Mesa… would you like to make a wager? And again… this would be a wager that has to do with reality not the Lala Land you believe exist…wait … that you know exist some where between your two ears. Of course before we wager we will need to define reality… but yeah… would you like to?

Mesa Econoguy July 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm

George, remember that SNL skit, with Martin Short, playing the hyperdefensive chainsmoking lawyer?

Yeah, that’s you.

muirgeo July 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Nah … never saw that episode. I bet it was funny but try something else.

vikingvista July 22, 2011 at 1:57 am

“You have finally persuaded me”

Your patience is superhuman.

Mesa Econoguy July 22, 2011 at 2:04 am

The GSP Vortex of Moron

GSPVoM ™

muirgeo July 22, 2011 at 9:27 am

Sam… would you like to make a wager on the trends in government jobs and Will’s uninformed claim of bloating government jobs?

I didn’t think so…

Sam Grove July 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I make no stake in the government employment stats. I’m more interested in the amount of resources controlled by government as represented by government spending.

Show us anything that shows an actual decline in government spending, particularly the federal government.

Dan J July 23, 2011 at 1:14 am

Yes! Federal govt jobs had risen over 100,000 since early 2009.

muirgeo July 22, 2011 at 7:22 pm

And Sam you and others have pursuaded me that libertarianism is a childish belief of self-centered unpragmatic spoiled brats that indeed has a genetic componant. This is war of genes and natural selection and if we are to survive the future I suspect mother nature will some how figure out how to cull your SFB “rugged individulist” genes out of the gene pool in favor of some more alturistic society oreinted alternatives.

Kirby July 22, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Actually, natural selection is now circling the drain. Food is cheap and plentiful, thanks to Obama healthcare abounds, and nobody will die before 50 unless they are stupid or unlucky.

Dan J July 22, 2011 at 8:06 pm

As all of the collectivist societies have failed and began dying or have died you make the claim that the collectivism known as dinosaurs will suddenly spring back and we Weill regress in evolution?

LowcountryJoe July 23, 2011 at 9:10 am

This is war of genes and natural selection and if we are to survive the future I suspect mother nature will some how figure out how to cull your SFB “rugged individulist” genes out of the gene pool in favor of some more alturistic society oreinted alternatives.

It’s only altruism when you use your own money, Ducktor. Wanting to soak the richest in society — punishing them for their successes while you repeat that “It’s only fair.” — cannot be called altruistic. It can be called many other derogatory things, however.

Sam Grove July 23, 2011 at 2:50 pm

You say this as someone who believes we need authority figures (in government) to take care of us in many aspects of our lives.

Like having perpetual mommies and daddies throughout our adult lives.

Projecting much?

Mesa Econoguy July 22, 2011 at 1:17 am
Mesa Econoguy July 22, 2011 at 1:17 am
Mesa Econoguy July 22, 2011 at 1:23 am
James N July 22, 2011 at 7:57 am

“I can gaurentee Mr Will the economy will NOT pick up until government hiring picks up. And I won’t have to lie about reality to prove I am right.”

In one simple, yet illogical statement, muirgeo confirms his misunderstanding of how an economy works. No one on this thread could possibly do a better job of exposing his ignorance.

muirgeo July 22, 2011 at 8:01 am

Would you like to make a waer along these lines?

James N July 22, 2011 at 8:26 am

I’m not certain what type of “waer we’d make, but let’s assume that your offering a “bet”.

This remains one of the more comical rebuttals I come across on internet threads. How exactly are two anonymous people, that may live across multiple time zones, honestly supposed to establish the parameters and the ultimate payoff of this wager? Answer: they can’t. But, it does serve the purpose of the individual making the challenge.

muirgeo gets to establish himself some supposed “upper hand” by attempting to make me look weak by not accepting his offer. Even if I agree, what data will be used to make the determination and how would anyone truly be able to prove their position? Would the increase in employment, if it ever materialized, be the cause of a growing economy or simply the result. Would we measure any increase in relation to a % of GDP and do we factor in population growth? I could go on and on attempting to establish the conditions and variables that could possibly impact the outcome.

Suffice to say, it would be difficult, if not impossible for someone to produce evidence to support the argument, “We need to hire more people that are supported by workers in the private sector in order to grow our economy”. Frightening that one could hold true to that belief.

muirgeo July 22, 2011 at 9:54 am

OK how about this… How about I ask you if 22,555,000 is a BIGGER or SMALLER number than 22,064,000?

ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/suppl/empsit.ceseeb1.txt

No bet lets just have gentlemanly agreement as to weather George Will mis-informed his readers or not.

The former number is form 2008 and the latter from June 2011. Do the numbers fit with the claim “….swelling the ranks of government employees…”

Maybe you could write to Mr Will and ask him for his source for his claim.

The Other Tim July 22, 2011 at 10:47 am

A 2% change over three years is statistical noise. Try looking at public sector employees as a function of population over decades since, say, 1930.

Dan J July 23, 2011 at 1:16 am

Federal employment is up by over 107,000.

Greg Webb July 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm

James N., it is the typical nonsense that you hear from George and DG Lesvic. They make promises as part of their wagers and bets that, when you meet the standard they set, they weasel out of by imposing a lot of standards and conditions not mentioned when the bet was first made. Then, they continue repeating those promises and making new bets as if nothing ever happened. I believe, as suggested by anther Cafe Hayek commenter, that George and DG are psychology grad students analyzing responses to repeated illogic and non sequitur.

Dan J July 24, 2011 at 3:10 am

More like members of the DNC’s Schutz Staffel. They work the blogs to see what baloney leaves people without easily repudiated retorts and then report back.

Kirby July 22, 2011 at 10:53 am

So, theoretically, if government hiring went to 100%, the economy would skyrocket?

James N July 22, 2011 at 11:33 am

“OK how about this… How about I ask you if 22,555,000 is a BIGGER or SMALLER number than 22,064,000?”

Sorry muirgeo, there’s that reading comprehension problem again. You’re confusing me with others on this thread. I haven’t engaged in the debate over government employment levels. My contention is that you’re full of hot air to suggest that the solution to our problems is to hire more government employees. As someone so aptly put it- “So, theoretically, if government hiring went to 100%, the economy would skyrocket?”- we’ll sit back and wait for your brilliant response to that query.

Samantha Jane July 22, 2011 at 10:33 am

That isn’t what it says.

BLS states that since 2007, ‘the federal government workforce (excluding Census and Postal workers) has grown by 11.7% while adding 230,000 jobs.’ It has grown by 7% since Obama took office.

‘Trending down’ doesn’t mean very much, in this application, nor is it a suitable basis on which to call a person a liar.

James N July 22, 2011 at 10:35 am

““…swelling the ranks of government employees…” George Will a liar and a supposed national treasure making up reality as he goes along. How pathetic.”

I would argue that your disingenuous attempt to disparage Mr. Will is far more pathetic. Let’s look at the full quote, not your out of context example.

“Democrats’ dependency agenda — swelling the ranks of government employees, multiplying government-subsidized industries, enveloping ever-more individuals in the entitlement culture — is buckling under an intractable contradiction:”

Mr. Will is clearly discussing the Democrats “agenda” or “platform”, if you prefer, and their attempts to maintain it. At no time does he make any declartion as to the direction of employment numbers, and in fact simply points out that they, the democrats, are “struggling” to sustain a crumbling system. Reading comprehension, with a sprinkling of nuance, would appear to be required here.

muirgeo July 22, 2011 at 10:46 am

A default to a discussion of semantics… not interested… That’s enough to tell me you aren’t honest and that indeed you’ve been backed sufficiently into a corner so as to all but yell out , ” Uncle”.

Thanks for playing!

He claimed the economy IS buckling under the democratic agenda which supposedly includes increasing government employees.

That’s a lie and the fact that the economy is getting worse as we fire more and more government employees doesn’t support your position it supports Keynes. YOU LOSE on multiple counts not the least is an inability to debate honestly.

The economy WILL NOT IMPROVE until we hire many more government employees, adjust our trade imbalance, grow wages and decrease inequality… and I’d add restructure corporate boards.

Kirby July 22, 2011 at 10:56 am

“adjust our trade imbalance”
AGAIN with the services/goods arguement that Krugman got blasted for just about a month ago?

The Other Tim July 22, 2011 at 10:57 am

As I said above, a two percent reduction in the workforce over the last three years is statistical noise. You are being deliberately myopic, cherry picking data which you like in order to argue your point. Try interacting with actual long term data like this: http://www.data360.org/dsg.aspx?Data_Set_Group_Id=228

In your own words, “I can’t stand people who think they can just lie and think it’s ok to do so to make their supposed point. They must really not think much of their readers.”

Kirby July 22, 2011 at 11:06 am

that data only goes to 2006.

The Other Tim July 22, 2011 at 11:37 am

I am aware. It’d be nice if the last few years were on it, but as I said before, cuts of half a million over the last few years are just statistical noise compared to the growth in government employment over the last half-century.

Kirby July 22, 2011 at 6:45 pm

oh, I thought that the topic was Obama, not the US. Mistake.

Craig S July 22, 2011 at 11:07 am

“The economy WILL NOT IMPROVE until we hire many more government employees, adjust our trade imbalance, grow wages and decrease inequality”
so Cuba must have the best economy in the world then, right? Or North Korea, I bet they have lots of gov’t workers and very little income inequality.

How do explain the 1970′s in say the UK? Was that eceonomy good? Is that what you want to return to?

Don Boudreaux July 23, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Or the U.S. economy in the 1930s. America for that full decade ran a huge trade surplus (caused, of course, by the fact that investment opportunities here in the USA were so meager and unattractive). Indeed, on a monthly basis, the U.S. had a trade surplus for 102 of the 120 months from January 1930 through December 1939.

Samantha Jane July 22, 2011 at 11:13 am

You neglected to address your errors. I pointed them out, above. Semantics is no excuse; James N is technically correct.

Regardless, ‘trending downward’ belies the reality of the 7% increase in Federal employment since Obama took office. It is, however, an excellent example of semantics; on your part, that is.

James N July 22, 2011 at 11:38 am

“He claimed the economy IS buckling under the democratic agenda which supposedly includes increasing government employees.”

“That’s a lie and the fact that the economy is getting worse as we fire more and more government employees…”

What a shame, you forgot to include your proof sources.

Dan J July 22, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Talk about semantics and misinformation…..

Federally employed and state employed personnel are horses of a different color.
Republicans took over much of the state govts and began to reduce the state employed. Dems had control over federal govt and increased employment.

Notice states began to balance their books with reduced state employment and benefits more in line with market averages. With the reduction in state expenses, they can reduce what they confiscate from individuals and businesses, causing more economic activity and getting more revenue from a higher GDP.

Wanna bet that when/if military employment is reduced, muirgeo claims that federal employment is reduced. Not the same thing Mr. Distorted of facts and information.

tdp July 22, 2011 at 10:42 pm

This marks the first time I have laughed out loud at one of your posts. There is no point in even trying to mock you because you do it yourself already.

Sam Grove July 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm

The economy WILL NOT IMPROVE until we hire many more government employees, adjust our trade imbalance, grow wages and decrease inequality… and I’d add restructure corporate boards.

Calling vidyohs…add this to your list.
I vote it the topper, literally the dumbest thing he has ever posted.

Craig July 22, 2011 at 6:57 pm

“Employment in both state government and local government continued to trend down”

You say you can’t stand people who lie. Well, I can’t stand people who change the subject. State and local governments are not completely under the purview of Obama and the Democrats. The Federal government continues to hire.

Really, can’t you do better than that?

Greg Webb July 22, 2011 at 12:53 am

George, you said, “I can’t stand people who think they can just lie and think it’s okay to do so to make their supposed point”. Well, no one else can stand you either.

muirgeo July 22, 2011 at 8:05 am

So Greg you think I am lying about government employment numbers? To be clear I am talking about all government employees including state and local.

Do you want to go on record supporting Will’s claim that government employment rolls have swelled under Obama?

LowcountryJoe July 22, 2011 at 9:09 am

http://www.opm.gov/feddata/HistoricalTables/TotalGovernmentSince1962.asp

Now, what would be really interesting would be to see these numbers including contractors. And then, of course, those people, while technically unemployed, who receive checks from the federal government because they’re no longer working — those collecting Social Security or SSI and even those who receive money from their state with the help of a 99 month unemployment insurance benefit partially subsidized by the federal government.

Rob July 23, 2011 at 9:17 am

Yes, this is George Will’s precise technique. If at first the numbers don’t agree with you find some that do. If government employment hasn’t swelled, well surely we can add in the unemployed, recipients of welfare, or something else that sounds good to make the numbers work.

The man is not a transparent liar, he makes an effort to cover his tracks.

Dan J July 23, 2011 at 11:08 am

Federal employment has grown by over 100,000.

Rob July 23, 2011 at 11:46 am

Dan J:

You’re close, but not quite:
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/feb/15/john-boehner/john-boehner-says-200000-new-federal-jobs-have-spr/

http://www.politifact.com/ohio/statements/2010/jul/15/john-boehner/john-boehner-says-obama-has-presided-over-private-/

I’m comfortable with this, in, you know, a major recession combined with unusually large disasters and three wars.

But Mr. Will seems to think this is “swelling the ranks of government employees, multiplying government-subsidized industries, enveloping ever-more individuals in the entitlement culture”.

Is there anyone more “entitled” than a Washington Post columnists who faithfully plays lapdog to his masters?

morganovich July 22, 2011 at 10:39 am

ahh, and here lies the meat of your misstatement muirgeo.

the cuts are coming at broke states and localities. that is NOT the federal government.

1. that is beyond obama’s control.

2. he propped it up with massive state aid described as stimulus anyway.

the federal government has more people working at it now that when obama took office.

it had not been above 2 million (ex post office) since the beginning of the Clinton admin.

you are just playing silly statistical games and trying to use a poor proxy (government employment) as a measure of “big” government.

go read my response to you above. regulation and entitlements are the much bigger issue.

Dan J July 22, 2011 at 5:10 pm

He is looking for employment with the DCC. Parse stats and info, if not downright lie, until you get information that supports your agenda.

And yes, good ole boy Reps are guilty of the same… But not in such A despicable manner of trying to institute a form of Marxism.

The Other Tim July 22, 2011 at 11:06 am

Do you, Muirgeo, want to go on record claiming “[Will claimed] that government employment rolls have swelled under Obama?”

This seems to be a fairly straightforward case of someone who didn’t read what he’s criticizing well enough. Stop before you embarrass yourself more.

Craig S July 22, 2011 at 11:14 am

“Do you want to go on record supporting Will’s claim that government employment rolls have swelled under Obama?”

Now you are a liar, Will didn’t say govt employment swelled under Obama, he said its part of the Democratic agenda that Obama is struggling (ie not able to do easily). You yourself have said it is necessary, so it is either disengenous or an out right lie to claim Will said Govt workers have swelled under Obama.

Here is the quote again.

“Obama struggles to sustain a doomed system. Democrats’ dependency agenda — swelling the ranks of government employees, multiplying government-subsidized industries, enveloping ever-more individuals in the entitlement culture ”

Nothing in there says govt workers have increases since 1/20/09 and its not semantics, its what he actually said.

Dan J July 22, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Obama’s admin would have had another stimulus to retain the state employed (read unions and govt dependent as they will always vote for more people who continue to give them their drug of choice). The first ‘stimulus’ went to this very cause….. Patronage.
Republicans took over 800 seats in state legislations. This resulted in a little more fiscal sanity….. Meaning reduced overhead.
Demoncrats and Obama increased federal employment by over 100,000 and counting.

Dan J July 23, 2011 at 1:22 am

Federal employment has risen by over 107,000.

State and local are beyond Obama’s grasp. Even with the ‘stimulus’, a.k.a patronage for govt employees of states, the economy still floundered and unemployment was on the rise.

Now that states are eliminating overhead, a.k.a. Govt employees, the states are finding fiscal sanity.

muirgeo July 22, 2011 at 10:02 am

Greg,

You are an honest guy is 22,555,000 is a BIGGER or SMALLER number than 22,064,000?

ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/suppl/empsit.ceseeb1.txt

The former number is form 2008 and the latter from June 2011. Do the numbers fit with the claim “….swelling the ranks of government employees…”

James N July 22, 2011 at 10:39 am

“…swelling the ranks of government employees…” George Will a liar and a supposed national treasure making up reality as he goes along. How pathetic.”

I would argue that your disingenuous attempt to disparage Mr. Will is far more pathetic. Let’s look at the full quote, not your out of context example.

“Democrats’ dependency agenda — swelling the ranks of government employees, multiplying government-subsidized industries, enveloping ever-more individuals in the entitlement culture — is buckling under an intractable contradiction:”

Mr. Will is clearly discussing the Democrats “agenda” or “platform”, if you prefer, and their attempts to maintain it. At no time does he make any declartion as to the direction of employment numbers, and in fact simply points out that they, the democrats, are “struggling” to sustain a crumbling system. Reading comprehension, with a sprinkling of nuance, would appear to be required here.

Trapper_John July 22, 2011 at 11:41 am

THIS ^^^

Captain Profit July 22, 2011 at 10:50 am

You win. The government is getting smaller. When will I see that reflected in my tax rate?

Kirby July 22, 2011 at 11:02 am

As soon as Obamacare implodes, like a star too huge to keep itself stable.

Ken July 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm

He doesn’t “win”. The federal government has been getting larger. The table he points to includes government employees at ALL levels, including state and local.

Regards,
Ken

Kirby July 23, 2011 at 6:18 pm

He does “win”
For his generation, there will be more government employment (at least until the people get tired of the government or the government becomes facist), and more government employment is to him a ‘win’.

Ken July 23, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Fair enough.

Jeff S. July 22, 2011 at 11:30 am

You are asking people to bet about the veracity of a claim Will did not even make.

And you remain one of the nastiest, most small-minded people on the Internet.

LowcountryJoe July 23, 2011 at 9:16 am

This. This! And THIS!

Mesa Econoguy July 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm

George, if you wish to “refute” the claim that government has not in fact exploded, you need to address 2 things:

1. Employment (you’ve touched on this, though I suspect inaccurately, but I have better things to do than check your proven inaccuracy)
2. Spending

When we throw the numbers and charts out there showing government has in fact multiplied manifold, we’re using spending as a proxy for this waste. It is enormous.

You then need to resolve this apparent conflict: Since, in your warped mind, government is benevolent and beneficent, how can so few employees be the source of all this wasteful spending?

Ken July 22, 2011 at 1:14 pm

muir,

http://www.opm.gov/feddata/HistoricalTables/TotalGovernmentSince1962.asp

Standard intellectual dishonesty and/or stupidity. You point to a data set that includes government employees at the federal level AND state and local in the US. In case you didn’t know, Obama can only control FEDERAL employment levels, which he has been doing. Federal employment levels (including both civilian and military) were 4,206,000 in 2008 and 4,443,000 in 2010, an increase of 237,000.

The numbers 22M should have tipped you off that the number included every level of government, but being consistently stupid, you can’t even figure that out.

Regards,
Ken

Ken July 22, 2011 at 1:21 pm

muir,

That 22M also includes places where democrats are losing and NOT able swell the ranks of government employees. Which is just another demonstration of how dishonest you really are.

Regards,
Ken

Greg Webb July 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm

George, you said, “Greg, You are an honest guy is 22,555,000 is a BIGGER or SMALLER number than 22,064,000? ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/suppl/empsit.ceseeb1.txt. The former number is form 2008 and the latter from June 2011. Do the numbers fit with the claim “….swelling the ranks of government employees…”

Thank you, George. I agree with your assessment that I am “an honest guy.” James N’s comment (see above) accurately describes my view on this matter. You have misrepresented George Will’s comments through selective editing.

Also, you aggregate your numbers to obscure the truth just like any other Keynesian would do. Many state and local governments have balanced budget laws that cause even Democrats to cut state and local budgets by eliminating unnecessary make work jobs in bad times. Also, Mr. Obama is using the trick of laying off certain lower paid federal government workers while keeping the over-paid cronies on his bloated staff. He gives the appearance of budget cutting for political purposes, but the net effect is to increase federal government spending when it must be cut to reflect economic reality.

Henri Hein July 22, 2011 at 1:14 am

You can tell by the numbers that those are total government jobs, not Federal employees. Apples and nuts.

Henri Hein July 22, 2011 at 1:15 am

I can also tell that those Reply buttons are in the wrong places.

juan carlos vera July 22, 2011 at 1:15 am

The only good thing of the Keynesian madness is that there is vast evidence that their delusions never work anywhere…

vikingvista July 22, 2011 at 1:58 am

One bad thing is that the keynesiacs don’t care.

Single Acts Of Tyranny July 22, 2011 at 6:55 am

I don’t know too much about US government employees but you may find the agency staff are not counted as direct government employees, ditto temporary staff. So, especially in the case of highly political figures, it is possible to claim that that the number of government employees is going down, when the number of people employed by the government is actualy increasing. A clearer picture will come from total government spending. This itself isn’t perfect given off-balance sheet tricks, but it’s better.

Randy July 22, 2011 at 7:59 am

Exactly. Follow the money. Those who collect subsidies, hold entitlements, benefit from restrictions on competition, hold “jobs” in non-voluntary systems, etc., are all “tax eaters”.

lilsam878 July 22, 2011 at 7:41 am

So this is the first time I find myself needing to respond. A simple Google search for “FEDERAL job growth” confirms Henri’s statement. Sure total govt jobs are down. City and State governments are doing what they are supposed to and trim their budgets. I found this site- http://jobsearch.usajobs.gov/browse.aspx . I actually did the math and as of this posting there are 23,000 open positions. Maybe I’m too ignorant to understand but that doesn’t sound like trending down to me.

John Galt July 22, 2011 at 8:28 am

Will is a category 5 dangerous socialist sociopath. He knows Government increased 40% under Reagan. He really believes government can lead the way in innovation through central planning and picking favorites. He loves the 100 trillion we shelled out to build nuclear plants in North Korea and countless other projects on our way to turning most of the world into totalitarian client states of fiat banking.
He is a full fledged Hamiltonian Law & Order thug worshipper grateful that our being a lightly taxed colony of England was converted to being a heavily taxed colony of some invisible secret handshake order infinitely more sinister and draining of our capital and freedom.
I can’t think of any more effective propagators of oppression than Washington Post Syndicate writers.
Will’s advice for Rand Paul: Your job is to get re-elected, not attempt to educate voters on libertarian principles. Screw George Will. His warfare fascism facilitation is way more dangerous and destructive than welfare fascism.

John Sullivan July 22, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Your take on GWill is extreme, but I still like you for it. You have to read someone for 20 years to grasp their philosophy, and apparantly you have. Just don’t embarrass me by saying that you’re only 18. >joke>

When will anybody learn that the left goes all out for everything, every time. This bullshit about compromising today for a better deal tomorrow is for losers. Witness Obamacare.

GW impressed me when I was young, but he bores me now. Yes, Galt, he’s gone neo on us, but so has the wsj, who I still love otherwise. Intellectually, Will brings nothing to my table of appetite. He’s as predictable as a Big Mac after 5 beers. He’s never written an interesting piece showing any economic insight whatsoever. Frankly, he’s similar to Buckley, who, at the end of the day, offered nothing of substance to the human race that wasn’t a disguised glorification of his own ego.

Once you compromise libertarian principles for war, you compromise them across the board. Buckley’s continual ridicule of Murray Rothbard and the Old Right, even in his RIP peice on Rothbard, was tragic and how he shoved Joe Sobran out of NR, to appease his Jewish Neo readership, was unforgivable. I cancelled my subscription that same day.

I second your position, screw George Will, even if we agree with him sometimes.

Dan H July 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Muirgeo,

Do you know why I’ve been able to make pretty good money in my early 20s as a trader? Because half the people I trade with are idiots like you who don’t live in reality. Eighteen months ago, they were desparate to sell me their commodities because they were CERTAIN Obama’s agenda was going to boost the economy. Six months ago, they were still selling me their gold. Whether it’s a stock, commodity, or currency, I’m lucky to have idiots like you in the world who do not want to live in reality and constantly undervalue or overvalue assets.

I don’t have to take a bet with you. I make bets every day on where I think the economy is going, which is why I have a lot of money in commodities right now.

Methinks1776 July 22, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Amen.

John Sullivan July 22, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Yes, but you still could be richer. Your time is valuable and you waste it on Muirgeo.

Dan J July 22, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I didn’t have the money, but an acquaintance did, and I advised him under the Obama admins and democrat Congress to get a hold of gold. Not pieces of paper, but real gold. He did and is happier for it. Obamamaniacs were gullible in believing the messiah would deliver them. My friend is happy with investment. Also, should Obama get re-elected…. By as much as you can afford. This guy so anti-business (make your own assumptions as to why) that more stagnation and anti- growth will come especially from someone unencumbered by worries of getting re-elected.

muirgeo July 23, 2011 at 9:16 am

“Do you know why I’ve been able to make pretty good money in my early 20s as a trader?”

Because you are likkely a self- centered individual and have no real interest in making a true contribution to society so you take advantage of asymmetrical information to suck the wealth out of home equity and pensions and 401k’s and from all of the true economy run by productive citizens who care both about earning a fair living AND making a contribution.

See if I was starting out today and wanted to just make money maybe I’d go into banking and finance or join the mafia but some of us care about what it is we actually do to earn our money. If I was starting out now I’d go into electrical engineering or something with the idea to be a part of THOSE great people sovling a true long term need for society.

Those people will look back on their lives with pride and comfort…. you’ll be divorced in no time, surrounded by shallow minded scavengers who hate you, the rest of society already hates you and 40 years hence in you haven’t jumped off a tall building or dropped in front of a subway train you’ll wilt into a bitter old man like the Mr. Potter character from its a wonderful life… and all the money and gold will seem so worthless.

Good luck buddy…

Dan J July 23, 2011 at 11:07 am

Ahahahahahahaha……… Soapbox boy……. Climb down… Save the world and take a trip into the ghetto with your stethoscope and heal somebody…. Can I get a witness?

Ryan Vann July 25, 2011 at 8:06 am

Oh my brother, TESTIFY!

John Sullivan July 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm

I am in the aluminum business. I am only a libertarian hypothetically. I actually do better under the quasi-fascism, interventionmism, of the Obama administration, and sadly, won’t lose much sleep if he wins again. The losers will be the Muirgeo’s of this world, if their God gets in.

The game today is rigged for the debtor class over the saving class. The savers are the middle class and the debtors are the industrial class, entrepreneurs, etc., who need working capital lines of credit, and who get them for virtually noting at the expense of the working class, whose savings bring them squat.

That’s what Muirgeo wants. He wants squat shit for everybody who can’t borrow millions from the government owned and controlled banking sector. He wants continued governmental control over the economy so people like me can golf all winter in Naples, Florida on free borrowed money. He doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to understand what he advocates. He is against competition and he pays a dear price for that belief, while I’m drinking Belgian Lager checking out 20 yr old talent at the loacl Tiki bars.

I’m buying the rounds for all the little gold diggers who love to prostitute themselves to the capitalists and he’s posting his bullshit on sites like this one to keep the taps open for us!

Good day,mate!

John Sullivan July 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Sorry for the spelling errors my friends, but it’s the beer that caused them. Muirgeo, keep it up! You’re gonna make the price of Aluminum ingot go to $1.50 lb., and I’ve got my eye on a nice Ferrari and the piece of ass that comes with it.

muirgeo July 23, 2011 at 9:27 am

“I am in the aluminum business. I am only a libertarian hypothetically.”

Wow… thanks for actually being truthful. You are just the guy all the libertarians and the professors here are covering for. You make my point exactly. The idea of free markets and libertarianism IS simply a front for people like you. Yeah maybe I’m a simple little man with a wife and kids and dog to go hiking with but don’t you agree even worse than being a scoundral like yourself or a simple man like me is to be a shill for people like you. I feel sorry for you but I really feel sorry for those who believe in you. Let me know how this all turns out 30 years hence.

Anyway glad to hear you’ll be voting for Obama.

John Galt July 23, 2011 at 10:51 am

Since the majority of me
Rejects the majority of you,
Debating ends forwith, and we
Divide. And sure of what to do

We disinfect new blocks of days
For our majorities to rent
With unshared friends and unwalked ways,
But silence too is eloquent:

A silence of minorities
That, unopposed at last, return
Each night with cancelled promises
They want renewed. They never learn.

Philip Larkin

John Sullivan July 23, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Libertarian ideology is best for mankind, but individual man always seeks what is best for himself, which in many cases can be a libertarian framework of law.

You are too stupid to see the folly of your ideology. My post was sarcastic in that I am claiming that big government, not free markets, are more favorable to protecting the wealth of the status quo. You advocate policies that do the exact opposite of what you’re aiming at–that was my point.

I will indeed prosper under big government, mainly because I’m in a position to gain from low interest rates and commodity inflation, but I would never vote for big government, because I tend to take a long term view of things.

Muirgeo, Regarding whether or not I am libertarian–

I’m heavily into philosophy and reflection about life in general. I happen to think and can argue effectively that no one can truthfully be either egalitarian, libertarian, or any other ideology other than totalitarian, if given the power. In fact, I have argued this point many times here on these pages. All these ideological positions are fronts that we use to make people think certain ways about us. But that doesn’t mean that all ideologies are equal. The libertarian ideal is the only one that is not founded on the principle of theft, and, not surprisingly, if you study economics hard, which you haven’t, you will learn that maximum wealth accrues to the societies that base their rule of law on the protection of property, contract, and free exchange, rather than through the resditribution of property through political theft.

So, hypothetically, the libertarian ideal is best for humanity, although the individuals prefer advantages for themselves that might contradict the libertarian ideal. It is the rough and tumble competition of life, in which we all seek what we calculate as best for ourselves, that produces, accidentally, or as a byproduct, a rule of law that makes it difficult for people to cheat each other. We are indeed, as humans, somewhat disengenious about what we publically advocate and how we act privately. I am not though. I have reflected heavily on this and understand my nature. I’m the honest one here, not you.

You have 2 problems. First, you don’t recognize what is best for society, and second, you are self-righteous and dishonest about your own nature. You merely don’t steal because you can’t, so because you can’t, you think you’re moral. Yet all your posts are in defense of a rule of law that is essentially a rule of theft.

Dan J July 24, 2011 at 3:29 am

I luv this post…. And I luv this site.

I still am not in Libertarian camp, but on a ladder with several hundred steps I have taken one more.

Even the person who means well with good intentions would impose his/her will upon others for the ‘common good’ or to rectify issues.

Aura Vie July 23, 2011 at 7:18 am

Write a 350- to 700-word response to the following: Using the list of philosophers provided below, select a quotation that best represents each of the philosophers.

John Sullivan July 23, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I don’t see a list.

Logic Slim July 25, 2011 at 6:34 am

So, please provide me with the above-mentioned my question or any idea for me to reach my original question as follows.

Ryan Vann July 25, 2011 at 8:03 am

“by the national treasure known as George Will:”

You have some gall. There is only one National Tray-zure and that is NPR.

Genie bra July 26, 2011 at 2:44 am

So, please provide me with the above-mentioned my question or any idea for me to reach my original question as follows.

Ultimate African Mango July 27, 2011 at 2:49 am

I noticed my boobs were a bit sore by the second day I was spotting, which I never get sore boobs before or during my period.

Skinny Fiber July 30, 2011 at 6:06 am

do your own homework… suggest you read up about this subject and try going to lectures so you learn something.

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