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The Next bubble to burst: Government!

I’ve been a bit slow on this one.  I have been wondering what sector of the economy was going to over inflate and burst next.  The answer has been right in front of me the whole time but the reason I did not see it very clearly is because I was wondering what part of the private economy would burst next.  Sure, I knew the government was in trouble, but I did not think of it as a “bubble”, like real estate or the dot.com era.

A simple headline today put the perfect perspective out there for me to get it.  If I apply “bubble economics” to the government sector, it is perfectly clear.

The economic collapse of Greece is a wake-up call. The unsustainable combination of a bloated public bureaucracy, high deficit spending and unfunded pension obligations busted Greece’s government bubble. Now the birthplace of modern democracy is on the brink of becoming a failed state.

The Bank of England recently warned that the U.S. is on the road to the same fiscal failure as Greece, and the Obama administration’s insistence on massive public spending and increasing deficits is the reason.

At this rate, the U.S. government will be the next economic bubble to burst. We’ve seen similar downturns: the information technology bubble in 2000, housing in 2007 and Wall Street in 2008. If unchecked, America’s government bubble will depress our economy with higher interest rates and defaulting state and local governments.

Politicians Aren’t Businessmen

Federal spending alone this year accounts for 25% of our nation’s gross domestic product. If you add state and local spending, the number is closer to 50%. No economy can thrive when nearly half of all economic output is directed by politicians rather than entrepreneurs and small businesses.

After big government spending, government employee unions pose a serious threat to America’s fiscal health. Over the past 30 years, union membership has declined significantly, from 23% of all workers in 1980 to about 12% today. But the percentage of union members working for government has soared: Over 50% of all union workers in the U.S. are employed by the government compared with only 17% in 1980.

In addition, government workers make about $10 per hour more than the average private sector worker.

And when they retire, taxpayers are on the hook to pay for lucrative pensions promised by a generation of politicians trying to win the next election. America’s small-business owners could only dream of providing the type of pensions that government workers take for granted. – IBD Editorials

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