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?
Every state in America today except for two—Indiana and Wisconsin—has more government workers on the payroll than people manufacturing industrial goods. Consider California, which has the highest budget deficit in the history of the states. The not-so Golden State now has an incredible 2.4 million government employees—twice as many as people at work in manufacturing. New Jersey has just under two-and-a-half as many government employees as manufacturers. Florida’s ratio is more than 3 to 1. So is New York’s.
Even Michigan, at one time the auto capital of the world, and Pennsylvania, once the steel capital, have more government bureaucrats than people making things. The leaders in government hiring are Wyoming and New Mexico, which have hired more than six government workers for every manufacturing worker.
This is an enormous shift in the mindset of Americans. As preachers, teachers and students of God’s Word, we need to examine any large cultural shift and consider how it may impact the Lord’s work. As an agrarian lifestyle becomes a distant memory, some of the parables of Scripture become foreign concepts.
Of course, as governments continue to grow, bureaucracy explodes so institutions ensure their own relevance. What impact will that have on the Lord’s church? The more we ask and answer these questions, the better prepared we will be for the future.