I’m going to make a bold statement here: The large majority of the American public is on government welfare. The thing is that there are two tiers of welfare. Welfare for those who didn’t complete highschool and welfare for those who graduated from college. We are all familiar with food stamps and the like, but have you ever considered that your paycheck just might be welfare too?
I’m trying to attach a graphic that diagrams it, but it works like this: Most companies employ people that are utterly useless and they know that these people are bored and taking up office space, but their paychecks fuel the company’s earning capacity.
The government sets demand for new technology (NASA programs that result in new products being sold at the Sharper Image) and for defense contracting. The feds hire contractors to produce the technology. The contracting companies hire a boatload of people and subcontract with a couple small businesses, which also hire people. Loads of money is wasted in the process. Cost over-runs, inefficiencies and failures.
But no one cares, because if the true number of people it requires to do the work at hand were employed, our unemployment would soar. All of those pointless salaries are spent on morgatges and credit card payments. The miserable, useless workers spend money to compensate for their boredom. This keeps the alcohol companies busy, the clothing industry, the entertainment industry… Any and all discretionary spending depends on bored people who are pulling a salary whether they produce or not.
All of that discretionary spending gives rise to other small businesses that arise to meet the demand for manicures and pedicures, which employs the remainder of the economy.
Income is taxed, profits from businesses–both small and large–feed into the tax revenue stream as does the sales tax on everything you buy. All of that tax means the government can spend more on defense programs it doesn’t need, research and development programs and your worthless salary.
Basically, it’s the military-industrial complex version of the New Deal. Except instead of national parks, oral history, art and a better infrastructure, we have crushing credit card debt to show for it.