Michael Schaus

While all eleven minutes of Obama’s apocalyptic “government shutdown” speech is well within the definition of “disingenuous”, there was one mundane comment that demands attention. The comment was more or less a throwaway line, aimed at illustrating the gravity of a government shutdown. Startling, the President uttered a fact during his 11 minutes of blaming Republicans. The Federal Government is, in fact, the largest employer in America.

“The federal government is America's largest employer” Obama reminded the press as he launched into a childish explanation of Keynesian economics. And now, some of those “non-essential” employees might be getting furloughed. (Inexplicably, Congress is still set to show up to work.)

Let’s put that into perspective:

Walmart has a stunning 2.2 million employees. The next largest employer is a Temp Agency – indicative of the part-time Obama-economy. . . But, the Federal government seems to be rolling right along -- with the capital raised from all those smaller businesses that independently produce wealth and innovation -- with well over 2.5 million Federal workers.

The Federal Government, unlike Walmart or any other private enterprise, is unaccountable to business models, market concerns, or even customer satisfaction. After all, where else can one take their business if they are unsatisfied with the level of harassment they receive from the IRS? And while the government, no doubt, has a large number of “essential” personnel, their quality of service (not to mention their constitutionally limited size) hardly merit over 2.5 million workers. (Although, in all fairness, Obamaphones are a far greater deal for consumers than anything at Walmart.)

Furthermore, the Federal workforce is not exactly indispensable contributors to the nation’s economic health. That’s not to say that many of them hold indispensable responsibilities that are essential to the continuation of any civilized society. . . But they are not net contributors to the nation’s economic growth. (Hehehe. . . I’m giving John Maynard Keynes a posthumous mini-stroke.) While it is true, as the President outlined in his speech (and Keynes argued to a fault), that these employees spend their hard earned paychecks at various businesses throughout their communities, they are not creating wealth with their hard earned labor.

Michael Schaus

Michael Schaus is communications director at the Nevada Policy Research Institute and is responsible for managing the organization’s messaging with the public, the media and NPRI’s membership.

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