The Corner

California: Making Government

As recently as 2001, three major private-sector industries each outweighed California’s state and local government industry, as measured by the percentage of personal income that the workers in each field earn in the state.

In 2001, state and local government workers took home 9.2 percent of California’s personal income. Service-sector workers took home 26.4 percent, manufacturing workers took home 9.9 percent, and workers in the finance and information industry took home 9.5 percent.

Today, only one private-sector industry — the service sector — outweighs California’s government in state-wide earning power.

Manufacturing, as well as finance and information, lost to government in 2002. Each industry slipped to 9.3 percent of personal income earned that year, as state and local government rose to 9.7 percent.

As of 2008, government stood at 9.9 percent of statewide earnings. Manufacturing hung onto just 7.8 percent of earnings, while finance and information kept 8.5 percent. Service-sector earnings reached 27.3 percent.

The good news is that it would take 77 years for California’s state and local government to eclipse the service sector at the current growth rate.

The bad news is that the high cost of government crowds out private-sector jobs that employers can move elsewhere, and makes it harder, too, for the economy to replace the jobs lost to recession.

Nicole Gelinas, contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, is author of After the Fall: Saving Capitalism from Wall Street – and Washington.

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More