“…Sadly, we could end up with a generation of Americans who want to work at the Department of Motor Vehicles…”
Without explanation, that quote may seem like the ramp-up to a joke. It might be part of a Jay Leno monolog. Or you could follow it up with the famous Jerry Seinfeld “…not that there’s anything wrong with that” line.
But that analysis actually appeared in last Friday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal. In an editorial entitled “We’ve Become A Nation Of Takers, Not Makers,” Senior Economics Writer Stephen Moore noted that among a large portion of America’s college students and recent graduates, government employment is viewed as superior to private sector enterprise because of the “near lifetime security” that government agencies offer their workers.
“When 23-year-olds aren't willing to take career risks” Moore noted, “we have a real problem on our hands…”
To help make the case of our “real problem,” Moore noted that there are presently more Americans working for their government than there are Americans working in the private sector construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities industries combined. And when you compile this bit of information with the reality that government agencies don’t produce wealth at all – they merely “collect” portions of the wealth that is produced in the private sector as tax revenue and then spend it to produce government services – then, yes, one can see a bit more clearly why Moore concludes that we have moved decisively from a “nation of makers to a nation of takers.”
The “takers” and “makers” analysis is powerful, and hopefully makes sense to lots of Americans. One doesn’t have to think too deeply to understand that if an insufficient number of us are “making” things and producing economic value, and too many of us are merely “taking” and consuming the insufficient amount of “things” that are made, well, then, eventually a nation runs out of things to “take.”
Yet understanding the vicious cycle that keeps our nation on this very destructive path is quite challenging for some. It requires one to understand some very basic things about economics, yes, but also requires one to care enough to understand a few things about our nation’s politics – and “politics” and “economics” are two subjects that many Americans find distasteful.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.