Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gubment Workers on MLK Day

MLK day was a couple weeks back (or was it last week? I don't remember frankly), and I suppose the "holiday" is all fine and good - but do we all have to shut down our real business (financial services) because of it?
I had some errands to attend on that good day and of course I knew that the banks were closed but rightly figured that would be about it as far as real enterprise goes. One thing that struck me that fine morn was the lack of traffic I encountered. Rest assured, other than (for whatever reason) the banking industry, it was not real business that closed up shop for the day.

OK the schools were closed and that certainly cuts down on early gridlock, but this lack of  traffic persisted throughout the day. Other than the aforementioned banks, I did not notice any real business closed for the day. I could get my coffee as any other day. I began to wonder if in my district that most of the workers were of the gubment variety. The little town near me (just south of the Houston metropolis) is the county seat so there are of course a lot of county types and there are also a number of state and federal offices nearby. I could not help wondering if there were just a whole lot of the "jobs" that were just not necessary. Well we know the answer to that but figured I would pontificate anyway.

Think about it.

It goes without saying that public school districts are major employers in most any community. In some areas they are the major employer. Tax payer funded jobs all. Granted teachers are a necessity along with support staff (custodial, maintenance, "lunch ladies," bus drivers, etc.). For the most part there is little that can be cut there (although some districts I have noticed seem to have an overabundance of "coaches" and I would bet that quite a few of them are a drain on the taxpayer dime). That being said, almost every district (of any size at least) employs more than a few folk who are as useless as a tit on the proverbial boar, and it is usually the highly paid "administrative" types who fit this description. I would bet my bottom dollar that the Houston Independent School District could cut up to 30 percent of their "administrative" staff with little of no detrimental effect on book larnin.

Most cities have folks employed who are rather useless. Now some small burg of fifteen hundred or so people probably does not have an overabundance of employees. Some of them make due with a city clerk (secretary), two or three guys in public works, a police chief (and maybe a couple of other cops perhaps even part time) and perhaps a nominally paid fire chief. It is a good possibility that an additional requirement of being employed is membership in the local VFD. It is pretty hard to point the finger at most small towns for going whole hog with unnecessary employment. Take a city the size of Houston though. Like a major school district, I can safely say that a full 30 percent of those city "jobs" can be eliminated without an significant cut in services.

This same 30 percent can be used as a rule of thumb for most (but certainly not all) counties in this country and of course it goes without saying that most states and for certain federal employment can be cut at least that much.

I don't just speak off the cuff here. I have  worked for both major city and mid major county along with a school district in my working "career." I have seen more useless jobs filled than I can count. I don't hold anyone in low regard for taking these type jobs if available of course but, as much as I hate to see  anyone to lose a job, I certainly do get tired of being taxed to the hilt to pay for marginal "make work"(and often quite lucrative) jobs. It should be past time to look at this major drain on real wealth and perhaps begin immediate reduction.

Of course it would be nice if there were some tax cuts to go along with a government (all level) reduction in force. Neither will ever happen though.

I guess we will always just be burdened with excessive government digging into our wallets and getting in our way.

Oh? MLK Day? At least I knew that down my way I would not get held up by some asinine parade.  If I had businees that morning in Houston however............


Jayhawk said...

California's top industry in terms of number of employees is government. Second and third are trade and transportation, and business services.

Bartender Cabbie said...

When government is the top employer things are completely upside down.