While the biblical phrase “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings… ” may have had different meanings over the centuries, one of today’s underlying meanings is that young children can often describe the “truth” that may be missed but should be otherwise obvious to all at the same time. With respect to the effort to keep legislators from trading their elected positions into also having a state job, and the additional pension and perks that come with it, the comments from Senator Margaret Rose Henry and Senator Tony DeLuca may have given the phrase a new and troubling meaning about our state and its future.
In response to HB65 and HB 75 (the fact there are two bills to do the same thing is a story for another day), which would out law the practice of adding another state job once elected, our good senators had the following to say to the News Journal:
“The problem with that is Delaware’s a small state,” Henry said. “It’s almost impossible not to find a job that’s not related to the state somehow. I would have trouble supporting that. It would eliminate a lot of employment opportunities, and I’m example of that.”
In the past, DeLuca has defended the practice, saying there would be “a lot of holes” in the General Assembly if dual employment were disallowed.
If this was just politics as usual, perhaps it wouldn’t really matter. The problem is that this mindset has become one of public policy with respect to economic development in Delaware and the United States. Their mindset is that government creates jobs. Heck, they will even create a job to make sure that the jobs they “create” are counted. In Delaware’s case, this initial assignment went to Vince Meconi who knows a thing or two about collecting multiple pensions. These people are constantly surrounded by state employee union representatives and others whose continual refrain is more, more and then some more. “More” to fund these positions only comes from one place and the mouths of babes know that as well.
Legislator leadership in Dover, the majority party that is, has only people who currently work in government or otherwise spent their careers in government and now believe that only government can create jobs.
DeLuca, Blevins, Henry, McDowell, Venables, Gilligan, Schwartzkopf, Longhurst and Keeley. Enough said.
The Governor’s office isn’t loaded up with private sector experience either.
In a Wall Street Journal op/ed today, Stephen Moore brings it all home about why this matters:
If you want to understand better why so many states—from New York to Wisconsin to California—are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this depressing statistic: Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.
It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills?
Don’t expect a reversal of this trend anytime soon. Surveys of college graduates are finding that more and more of our top minds want to work for the government. Why? Because in recent years only government agencies have been hiring, and because the offer of near lifetime security is highly valued in these times of economic turbulence. When 23-year-olds aren’t willing to take career risks, we have a real problem on our hands. Sadly, we could end up with a generation of Americans who want to work at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Out of the mouth of babes indeed.