Recently, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund observed, “the politics of the next decade are likely to center on a debate over how to deal with a public sector that often seems to exist more for the benefit of its employees than its citizens.”
As America observes Labor Day 2010, it is time to recognize that the paradigm in America’s political and labor discourse has dramatically shifted. While the great debate and struggle of the 20th century was labor versus management, the 21st century has ushered in a new dichotomy: government vs. private enterprise.
Since President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, total private sector employment has decreased by 3.3 million jobs, while the government workforce has grown by a net 34,000.
This trend comes amid another transformation in the American workforce. Earlier this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 12.3% of U.S. workforce belongs to a labor union and, for the first time in U.S. history, more public sector employees (7.9 million) belong to a union than private sector employees (7.4 million).