That is the number of Americans who in 2012 got up every morning and went to work -- in the private sector -- and did it week after week after week.
These are the people who built America, and these are the people who can sustain it as a free country. The liberal media has not made them famous like the polar bear, but they are truly a threatened species.
It is not a rancher with a few hundred head of cattle that is attacking their habitat, nor an energy company developing a fossil fuel. It is big government and its primary weapon -- an ever-expanding welfare state.
First, let's look at the basic taxonomy of the full-time, year-round American worker.
In 2012, according to the Census Bureau, approximately 103,087,000 people worked full-time, year-round in the United States. "A full-time, year-round worker is a person who worked 35 or more hours per week (full time) and 50 or more weeks during the previous calendar year (year round)," said the Census Bureau. "For school personnel, summer vacation is counted as weeks worked if they are scheduled to return to their job in the fall."
Of the 103,087,000 full-time, year-round workers, 16,606,000 worked for the government. That included 12,597,000 who worked for state and local government and 4,009,000 who worked for the federal government.
The 86,429,000 Americans who worked full-time, year-round in the private sector, included 77,392,000 employed as wage and salary workers for private-sector enterprises and 9,037,000 who worked for themselves. (There were also approximately 52,000 who worked full-time, year-round without pay in a family enterprise.)
At first glance, 86,429,000 might seem like a healthy population of full-time private-sector workers. But then you need to look at what they are up against.
The Census Bureau also estimates the size of the benefit-receiving population.
This population, too, falls into two broad categories. The first includes those who receive benefits for public services they performed or in exchange for payroll taxes they dutifully paid their entire working lives. Among these, for example, are those receiving veteran's benefits, those on unemployment and those getting Medicare and Social Security.