By Sylvia Bokor
Government produces nothing. It creates no wealth. Yet the District of Columbia is ranked as the richest area in the nation.
Politicians and bureaucrats shriek that business people are "greedy." But facts show differently. Imagine voting yourself a raise and millions of dollars in allowances. Imagine 5-figure bonuses. Lifetime pensions to which you contribute only 1.3%. Imagine opening 3 or 4 offices around the state for which you pay not a dime.
Politicians and bureaucrats are diseased with avarice -- and complain with self-righteous indignation when CEOs arrive in private jets for a White House meeting.
D.C. is the richest area in the nation not only because an annual salary of $174,000 is paid to congressional members, 261 of whom are millionaires, not only because most of the appointed cabinet secretaries are multimillionaires, but also because federal employees are paid salaries over three times what the average taxpayer earns.
The source of all that money is taxes levied on production.
Business people -- both employers and employees alike -- produce all of the services and products that provide our as well as politicians and bureaucrats' comfort, health, safety and pleasure. Business people create the nation's prosperity. They are the nation's wealth -- and are regulated by those that produce no economic values whatsoever.
What are the total federal salaries business people are forced to pay those that produce nothing? Here is an estimate.
The executive branch is the most profligate. The White House staff numbers 460 bureaucrats. Their annual salaries vary from a few at $42,000 to hundreds between $75,000 and $174,000, and some as high as or over $200,000.
The executive branch includes the cabinet, which consists of 15 departments. The annual salary of each Secretary is $200,700. The number of bureaucrats comprising cabinet staffs range from 15,000 to 240,000. Annual staff salaries average $100,000. Some are higher. For example, the Department of Homeland Security has a staff of 240,000. Of this number 9,525 are "titled" and paid an average of $133,486 annually. Of the remaining 230,475 bureaucrats, the average annual salary is $120,000. Total DHS salaries is $27,657,000,000.
Adding in the Secret Service, chief executive, vice president and White House staff, the total executive branch numbers 6,546,673 employees that are paid an estimated $549,126,870,330.
The legislative branch has 12,835 employees. The total paid in salaries is $1,568,131,700. A 2009 report stated that 2,043 staffers were paid an average of $168,000 The remainder of 5,787 staffers average $100,000 annually. "Assistance" and allowances for Senate and House members comes to $3,682,468,080. The total for the legislative branch is an estimated $5,250,599,780.
For the judicial branch, the total number of employees is 1,324 and $199,418,700 in salaries. The judicial branch includes the Supreme Court (9), the Courts of Appeal (179), district judges (677), international trade (9) and their staffs (450 -- estimated).
As for agencies, although the actual number remains in dispute 491 is used here because that is the number of agencies -- minus cabinet posts and military services -- shown in a government listing. These 491 agencies employ 5,148,867 individuals. Total annual salaries: $569,886,700,000.
These numbers -- of agencies, employees and salaries -- are hugely underestimated. Many federal agencies subsume dozens of agencies and bureaus that are not listed. The National Institutes of Health, for example, consists of 47 separate bureaucracies, the number of their personnel and salaries unstated.
The number of employees and salaries of some agencies is classified, such as the CIA and the NSA. An example is the NSA, which experts estimate employs between 100,000 and 200,000 employees with a budget of "at least $40 billion." This sum is included under agencies with an estimated 150,000 employees averaging an annual salary of $100,000.
Executive -- 6,546,673 employees; salaries ..... $ 549,126,870,330.
Legislative -- 12,835 employees; salaries ....... 5,250,599,780.
Judicial -- 1,324 employees; salaries ....... 199,418,700.
Agencies -- 5,298,867 employees; salaries ....... 569,886,700,000.
Total = 11,859,699 employees; salaries .... $ 1,124,463,588,810.
The consequences of these stupefyingly large numbers are far more devastating than can be seen directly. To grasp the extent of that destruction, consider the level of prosperity that employers and employees achieve today despite regulations, taxes, permits, fines, and wasted time on government paperwork.
Because of government confiscation of producers' time and money, gone are the businesses that would have been started with that income. Never to be recouped is the time that would have been spent on innovations, inventions, discoveries and products that would have been made. Never to be retrieved is the prosperity that would have inevitably raised the standard of living, elevated the destitute and eventually wiped out poverty.
The money that politicians and bureaucrats have looted has gone and continues to go into the pockets of the nonproductive. Vying with one another to ingratiate themselves with the most politically influential, politicians and bureaucrats toss around their loot to raise the height of the soapbox before which others rush to kneel. None of that money creates wealth. It stops dead, going no farther.
If the electorate is concerned about the destitute, they should demand radical and permanent deregulation that closes three-quarters of the agencies and cuts federal salaries by 50%. The result would free producers to create more goods and jobs, raising the standard of living for all.
If the electorate is concerned about the unemployed they should recognize that only those with savings can create jobs. If the electorate is concerned about the young or the elderly, the sick, disabled or abused, they should recognize that only the able, the competent, the thoughtful -- in other words, producers -- can alleviate and solve such problems.
Government cannot do it. "The Government" is only a bunch of bureaucrats and politicians that obstruct those who can.
The individual business person's right to life and property is being brazenly violated. Today's politicians and bureaucrats are the self-appointed plutocrats of this nation. And they have forced business people -- employers and employees alike -- to be their feudal serfs by means of how much of their income earners are allowed to keep.
When Obama or some other Retrograde (AKA "Progressive") complains about the growing "gap between the rich and the poor" they expect one to understand that the "gap" referred to is between the productive rich and the non-productive poor.
But knowing something about the mammoth amounts of money that bureaucrats and politicians routinely rip off from taxpayers paints a different picture. The actual gap is between the nonproductive rich -- politicians and bureaucrats -- on the one hand and on the other the productive of our nation that are the victims of over a trillion dollar heist.
Sylvia Bokor writes a newsletter for New Mexico residents on state issues, and a National Newsletter, which discusses different political issues from a broader perspective.