NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 19, 2010

"Detroitification" is defined as the hollowing out of the private economy to prop up unsustainable (and often unresponsive) government establishments.  Is this an apt description of Washington's policies, asks Michael Jahr, senior director of communications for the Mackinac Center? 

The comparison seems unavoidable with the federal government spending at a frenetic pace and racking up record debt, while adding to the numbers and cost of government employment, says Jahr: 

  • According to USA Today, during the current recession, the number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded.
  • While Americans struggle with unemployment, falling wages, failing businesses and housing foreclosures, federal employees are flourishing on the taxpayer dole.  

One example, according to USA Today: 

  • When the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more.
  • Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.
  • In just one federal agency, the top echelon bureaucrats have padded their generous government packages to the tune of $287,300,000. 

So much for shared sacrifice, says Jahr.  The decades-long policies that fattened the public sector at the expense of the private have produced tragic results in Detroit.  Only if our elected officials realize that the private economy does not exist to provide for the political class can the nation avoid Detroit's fate. 

Source: Michael Jahr, "Economy Contracts, Government Expands," Mackinac Center, February 8, 2010. 

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