Comments about ‘Letter: Unaffordable America’

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Published: Wednesday, Nov. 27 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Unreconstructed Reb
Chantilly, VA

Since government jobs have been brought up, it should be noted, as FreedomFighter41 has, that the number of federal employees is trending downward after a small rise in Obama's first term. With sequestration imposing hiring freezes and downsizing by attrition, that trend is likely to continue.

The total number of federal employees is still almost a million fewer than at the end of Reagan's presidency.

In 1962, there were 5.3 million federal employees. Today there are 4.4 million. To put that in perspective, when the country's population was 60% smaller than it is now, it had 20% more federal workers than there are today.

Taking all local, state, and federal employees as a percentage of the US population under Obama is 6.9%. Under the 4 previous administration, that number varied between 7.2 and 7.4 percent.

So no, public sector jobs are hardly consuming more and more of the country's workforce and turning into an unsustainable drag on private sector wealth creation. The private sector is quite capable of doing that on its own.

clearfield, UT


You keep talking about Reagan tripled and Bush doubled the national debt. That is a meaningless statistic. The only important statistic is the amount of the current national debt, not the percentage of increase. With Reagan we were talking billions, not trillions. Here is a good way to look at it. If the national debt is 1 dollar and a president brings it up to 3 dollars, he tripled it. However if the national debt is 10 trillion dollars (under Bush) and a president increases it by 7 trillion dollars, (as Obama has) which is the more damaging? And, Pagan, you do see that at the rate Obama is increasing it, he will likely have doubled the debt by the time he leaves office. His first 7 trillion has been only after 5 years in office. We will likely be in the 19 trillion area when Obama leaves office.

Woods Cross, UT

Pagan says:
"Reagan tripled the national debt. Bush doubled the national debt. You cannot say either, about Obama." No we can't say that about Obama, but we can say however he has added more debt than ALL other presidents before him COMBINED, nearly doubling what it was before.
Pagan says:
"16,000 point dow. A new record." Because the federal gov't is spending billions a day to prop up the market. Like many middle class people in America today I have no savings and no retirement accounts because the Obama economy has destroyed my profession and related professions and I have had to use the above mentioned accounts to survive. I no longer have any money in the stock market. I fear the next 3 three years, especially if Obamacare isn't repealed.

American Fork, UT

Employers shouldn't have anything to do with health care.

Orem, UT

To Roland, who said: "Corporate profits are at an all time high in the U.S. Obviously it is not as impossible to manage a profitable business as some of you think....Our top marginal tax rates are the highest, but our effective tax rates are among the lowest in the developed world...."

So what you are basically saying is that if you are already a mega-corporation with an army of tax attorneys and accountants who can find every loophole in the mountains of tax code and a ton of lobbyist influence in Washington, then you can do very well under the current system of crony capitalism.

But if you are a small businessman who is trying to turn a great idea into a profitable business, then you have Mt. Everest to climb. Some daring climbers will make the attempt and a few will be successful enough to reach the summit, but the majority will look at what it takes and decide it is not worth the effort to them.

USS Enterprise, UT

To "Vicki" don't worry, the government is already comitted to doing all it can to help job creation. Ever since 2009, Obama has repeatedly (especially during the State of the Union address) let us know that his top priority is job growth.

Just look at what dear Leader's record is. In January 2009 the labor participation rate was 65.6%, and now thanks to the high priority that the Obama Administration has given it it is now 62.8%.

Right now, lets just settle on the government stopping its efforts. It would be best for them to do nothing for a while. Best would be for government to cut back the regulations that do little to nothing and let businesses work.

To "Unreconstructed Reb" yes the total number of government employees is shrinking, but the government offices are being filled with contractors. That means that the total federal employee numbers are misleading because it doesn't reflect how many people work in the government offices.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

"And, their disingenuous suggestion of conservative paranoia is proof positive of their own mania."

Nope, I'm being genuine when observing paranoid conservatives comments about the government being out to get you...now...that democrat is president, and if I forget that "We are the government."

You know what's unaffordable in America?
The conservative agenda of redistributing all money and property to 1% of American's
and then complaining that the poor are the problem.

I see where some use facts others use radio math.

Unreconstructed Reb
Chantilly, VA


1) The number of government contractors is also down sharply in recent years. Government isn't trimming employees and bringing in contractors, it's cutting slots entirely.

2) How would you classify contractors -- public or private sector? The big ones are corporate giants like Lockheed, Boeing, and Northrop-Grumman, with shareholders, DJIA stock, and hundreds of thousands of employees. The small ones, in their many thousands, are your regular small businesses. Is it possible to argue that these aren't in the private sector? Is it possible to argue that these companies create a net economic drag? Is it possible to argue that slashing the money spent on them would boost the economy? I'm deeply skeptical.

(Not that I'm arguing contractors have no inefficiencies, just that their role isn't understood by most of the "Cut spending!!!" crowd.)

Some complain about contractors getting tax dollars, but the truth is that the economy doesn't care what the source of a dollar is, it only cares about generating positive economic activity. The very computer you're reading this on and the internet that brings it to you are products of the complex interface between public and private economic sectors.

Cedar Hills, UT

Vickie - Barack said his goal was to fundamentally change America and now you smell it - the full stench of what he foretold. The poster child is the "un"-afordable care act. Obamacare is worse than even the biggest protesters ever dreamed it would be and we are just getting started. The goal for Barack was always turning America into a Socialist state like Greece and France and other now desperate and bankrupt Socialist countries. Take a long hard look at Detroit. That city is the symbol of what liberalism produces and you will see other cities follow Detroit in the coming years. Liberalism like cancer must be stopped and destroyed before it reaches critical mass otherwise there is no reversing it and the end result is always the same. Death. In case you haven't realized it yet - America is dying. Seventeen trillion in debt and growing - 8 trillion of that is from Barack all by himself. Take care of your family and yourself the best you can. Store food and other essentials and get out of debt the best you can. Prophetic words which will be needed in the coming months and years.

USS Enterprise, UT

To "Unreconstructed Reb" what few studies out there that I can find all show that there is an increasing number of contract employees.

Contract employees are people working in government offices, and acting on behalf of the government.

Unreconstructed Reb
Chantilly, VA


You seem to be referring to a subgroup of contractors who sit alongside government workers performing support tasks and other "non-inherently governmental functions," or what the Pentagon calls SETA support. The "shadow workforce" Bush surged so that he could fight two wars while at the same time claiming that he wasn't increasing government. Right?

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but those are precisely the contractors who are getting pounded right now. These folks are some of my neighbors, people I attend church with, people I see at my kids' school. A few of them have already been laid off, the rest are terrified because they all know how vulnerable they are because they're being shed due to shrinking budgets. They all realize that the govies won't even think about a "reduction in force" for their own employees until the last one of them is already out of the building.

Whatever studies you're looking at right now are dated; this is happening right now. The contractor workforce isn't what it was a few years ago and most of them see the writing on the wall.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

Lots of money in the economy comes from the government spending it somewhere on something or someone.
It's real easy to tell the difference. What is the company name your paycheck?
Contractors are not Government employees.
They are people contracted to complete a specific project, for a specified compensation. Thus the word contract.
Unless you one of the big boys building jets for billions over your contract, and years late...totally acceptable.

Henderson, NV

We started a business here in Nevada a few years back. We hired caregivers to care for seniors in their homes; a service greatly needed here. The first year our state license cost us $300. A year or two later it jumped to $3,000 per year. That was the state of Nevada doing what it could to increase its income after federal government dollars to Nevada decreased. At our peak, we had 24 employees on our payroll. Then Obamacare was introduced, and we had absolutely no idea how it would impact us nor the home care industry. None. Neither did any professionals we consulted. Rather than take the unknown risk, we opted to close down the business. Sure would be nice if our state and federal government tried to HELP small businesses, rather than hinder them.


Washington DC suburbs increasing affluence is largely a result of corporate lobbyists, lawyers and govt contracts in areas like information technology.

"While official workforce figures have gone down in recent decades, use of government contractors has exploded, especially in the defense sector following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In fiscal 2000, the government spent $208 billion on contractors. In fiscal 2009, that figure was up more than 150 percent, to $540 billion.

If you consider government contractors federal employees and view grantees -- like universities -- as employing people on behalf of the federal government ("Nuclear labs are run by universities, but are clearly federal agencies," said Light), the numbers have rocketed."

Connolly says the the size of the federal government's workforce has not grown much since 1990. Based on the official numbers he sources, he’s safe.

But there are two definitions of "federal workforce": 1) Public servants working directly for the government and earning benefits, or 2) "everyone who gets their paycheck directly from Uncle Sam or through contracts and other purchasing vehicles."

...the increased use of government contractors, which has allowed the number of federal bureaucrats to decline."

Utah ranks in the top 10 for number of federal employees per capita.

one old man
Ogden, UT

And in the meantime, we are paying zillions to "refurbish" the entire fleet of F-16 fighters which were to have been retired as the F-35 came into service.


Because the F-35 -- the most expensive airplane ever in the entire world, both in construction and operational costs and one the Pentagon did not want in the first place but was forced by Congress to accept -- is not performing up to promised standards.

Get this -- the F-35 is, according to Air and Space Magazine, "still being developed even as it enters service." An Air Force pilot assigned to the new plane complained that even though he is supposed to be an ordinary fighter pilot, "Anyone who flies the thing is still a test pilot."


Government cost control at its finest.

And which political party shoved this thing down the throats of American taxpayers?

If you guessed Grand Opposition Party, you're right.

But remember, they are saving money for us . . . . . somehow.

Brer Rabbit
Spanish Fork, UT

There is high unemployment because the labor surplus has grown so much in recent years. It seems to have become impossible to increase employment and improve wages because jobs are being eliminated faster than created. The reasons: Automation, Mechanization, Off-shoring, higher percentage of working women and military personnel reduction. Additionally millions of foreign legal and illegal workers are added to the American workforce each year.

Due to these forces the present 8% unemployment will likely become the new normal full employment rate, often going even higher. The unemployment rate and under employment rate is near 15 percent, and will require more and more taxpayer subsidy.

In order to improve the employment picture the problem must be seen as not only a shortage of jobs, but also as a surplus of labor. In order to prevent unemployment from going above 10 or 15 percent. Not only creating jobs must be addressed but also reducing the number of workers.

U.S female fertility rate is already below 2.1 the replacement rate, down now below 1.9 births per female. Since births are already in slow decline other options such as a large reductions in foreign legal and illegal workers, and reduction in hours worked are needed.

Durham, NC

As a person whose life revolves around math, curves, and all the like, I must say I am not a big fan of the old bell curve, because in reality if really doesn't apply to all situations. Fore example, there is no reason why in academics that the bell curve need apply - in that there is no reason why most students should not work with the expectation that all will master a subject.

That said, for today, the bell curve is a reality in economics. Without a proper distribution of incomes across the spectrum, you can not have a functioning society. You must value certain jobs by the economic value they provide. It is that cold and that simple. At some point in time, many of these jobs will continue to go away through automation.

That doesn't mean that society should not take care of those on the bottom end of the economic spectrum. Basics of life should be available to all - regardless of economic status. Healthcare, education... should be available to all. A big house, expensive car... no. But being on the bottom of the society latter should not equate to a lack of personal dignity.

West Jordan, UT

Medicare for all. Other countries have a single payer system and they have superior or comparable health results while spending much less than we do!

Phoenix, AZ

[Pagan - You cannot say either, about Obama.]

Obama increased the nation debt more than all the other presidents added together, ~$7 trillion.

[Ernest T. Bass - ...along with 2 unnecessary wars.]

You should be pinging the folks who voted to use military force in Iraq... including Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Kerry, & Joe Biden.

Durham, NC

Alfred… you comment about Obama increasing the bent in raw numbers more than any other president is one of those "duh" type statements…. it is the effect of inflation. You can make that statement just about ever president out there - Republican or Democrat.

And math and averages has it the next president - whether Republican or Democrat - will do likewise after.

The real issue is debt to overall gap ratio, which is a far better measure, and which there is something there critiquing about.

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