Governments do not generate wealth; they can merely distribute it. The challenge for both liberals and conservatives is simply to define how much distribution is “enough.” What would an acceptable safety net look like? Who should be taken care of by taxpayers and for how long? Paul Ryan offered an answer to that question, and liberals scoffed because they reject the question. There’s no such thing as enough, as far as they’re concerned. That’s what the Greeks thought.
According to USA Today, “paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year,” while government benefits rose to a record high. In fact, government employment is becoming a method of redistributing wealth. In 2009, the federal payroll grew and the number of federal jobs paying over $100,000 a year doubled.
The average federal worker earns over 70 percent more than the average private-sector worker, writes Arthur Brooks in his new book, The Battle: “To find this acceptable, you must agree that the average federal worker is much more productive or deserving than the average person in the private sector.” . . .