Government is far too large. And I’m not just talking about traditional welfare and that sort of thing. I am talking about the massive amounts of corporate welfare, the bloated salaries and retirement plans of government employees, the cost of maintaining the government superstructure etc.
How about we defend the country and have just enough police so that commerce can happen peacefully? How about that? Seems an ambitious enough government I think. How about we leave people alone? How about we let people solve their own problems by and large? How about we make sure that the vast vast majority of the economy is in private hands, that is to say within a voluntary economy.
Sadly many people don’t want this. They want government inserting itself into everything. Some of these people make money off of an enlarged state either as employees or as beneficiaries. (I am not talking about the very small minority of people who simply can not provide for themselves. This group is relative peanuts to other costs.) Others are afraid of a free society because they’ve been told their entire lives to fear freedom. Others just don’t want to deal with the responsibility it takes to operate as a free person. (And for some a freer society would be a big change with lots more demanded of them. It’s understandable – if a pity – that they would resist their own liberation.) For some it’s a combo of these things. This has been my experience anyway.
Sunny, silicon-rich California is a long way from Puerto Rico’s fate, but the costs of keeping the government fed are on an ominous upward trend. A decade ago the top individual income tax bracket decreed by the solons of Sacramento was 9.3%; today, it’s 13.3%. The nice pensions for state and local workers in California are $189 billion short of adequate funding, according to an analysis by Moody’s. That pension debt comes to $13,500 for every private-sector job.
An employer would find Florida more hospitable. Per employee, the burden of unfunded pensions there is only one-fifth as high. The Tax Foundation calculates that Florida’s tax collections amount to 9.2% of the state’s economic output, versus California’s 11.4%. The Florida Feedme Ratio is only 69.
Did you get a job offer in California? Pause before taking it. When you buy a house there, you are incurring your share of the state’s obligations. You cannot walk away from them. In effect, you don’t really own that house. The state pension fund owns it. You are just a junior partner in the arrangement.