The Postal Service is proposing to cut its workforce by 20 percent. Walter Russell Mead points out that blacks are overrepresented in the postal workforce, meaning that shrinking government will be even more likely than otherwise to be “a recipe for contentious and polarized politics.” This is also true for the non-postal civilian federal workforce, which is 17.7 percent black, compared to just 10 percent of the total civilian labor force. Berkeley’s Labor Center pointed out earlier this year that blacks were one-third more likely to work for government (at all levels) than non-blacks, and “the median wage earned by Black employees is significantly higher in the public sector than in other industries.” These findings prompted this (non-joke) headline at a leftist site: “Attack On Chicago’s Public Employees Hits Minorities Hardest”.
This is obviously not a reason to avoid cutting government, but it will make it politically more problematic, with race-hustlers like Sharpton likely to claim that it’s all a Republican plot to gut the black middle class. (Heck, even getting rid of the ridiculous Visa Lottery has been opposed by black congressmen because it’s a disproportionate source of African immigration.) But we have to be honest: shrinking government employment will have a significant effect on the black middle class. In the long run, pushing people out of the nest of government employment will be better for everyone involved, but in the short run government retrenchment will lead to a smaller black middle class.
(Oh, and did I hear right that Sharpton has a show on MSNBC? Heck, at least Olbermann never organized a pogrom.)