The reality is that public sector workers are paid with money taken from the pay packets of private sector workers, there is no other place for that public money to come from ultimately (even inflating the currency away ultimately steals wealth from the private sector, transferring it from those people to The Chosen Ones within the public sector).
The public sector has been expanding for years, and there have been increasingly generous pay and conditions attached to those positions too. It had got to the point where half of the working people of the nation were on the public payroll, and they were getting packages comparable with the private sector. How could that work for long, given the fact they are all paid by the other half of the nation?
Are those in the private sector supposed to happily fork over 100% of their hard-earned cash along the line somewhere in Gordon's labyrinthine tax regime? (Sometimes it feels like we are, right readers? Or perhaps you have not yet really considered just how much money that was due to you is taken up in taxes of one sort or another, at some time or another... a lot of it you never even knew was coming to you, it was taken out of your pay packet by your employer on behalf of the government. For example, note that blacked-out bit on your P60; this is where the empploye rhas to write in how much "employer's national insurance" they have paid for you in the year. Why do they not want you to know how much they charge your employer just for employing you? The employer would have been able to give it to you otherwise, that's why! And trust me now, in most cases that indirect contribution you make is a significant amount of money each month -- more than your own contribution to "national insurance" (aka "another tax"). This is just one example of how the amount of tax you pay is hidden from you, there are plenty more if you were to stop and think about it more.)
I am well aware it was in Labour's best interests to keep the (mostly unionised) public sector on side, voting for the side of their bread that was most buttered, and that explains entirely why the public payroll got so far out of hand (again).
The bad, bad news for those people looking for a cushy life -- and a job for life with a juicy pension at that -- is that fiscal reality is catching up with Labour and the public sector workers, as it always does. Now there is an implosion in the private sector jobs market, the public sector will have tipped into more than 50% of the working public. At the same time, the public finances are being further strained by those increasing numbers of ex-private-sector-workers now receiving unemployment benefits. This acidic mix is very clearly not just unsustainable, it is impossible.
Given my thinking on this topic, as outlined above, the linked article held little surprise for me this morning when I saw it on the BBC economics news feed, I was only surprised that this elephant in the room was finally being spoken about openly. However, I bet its the biggest surprise ever for the throngs of people in the public sector who are going to lose their jobs; jobs that in many many cases should never have existed in the first place though, since they were simply unaffordable to begin with.
BTW: Those of you reading this in the States, please substitute "Democrats" for "Labour". If you need to see if this is indeed true, take a look at California's state budget deficits, and the results that you are reading in the media right now. Schwarzenegger isn't taking the governor's red pen to the public sector payrolls budget line for a sick fascist joke, he is doing it because it is the only viable option that is open to him. The Californian budget deficits for years on end were a train wreck waiting to happen, he could not get the Democrats in office to stop voting to spend money they didn't have. They need to get real now, and fast! That kind of problem is not going to be limited to the state of California either, so get ready to empty your own trash down at the municipal facilities sometime soon guys, when the unions are out on strike over job cuts near you too.
You can all just write me off as a right-wing evil pig if you like, its no skin off my nose really. But I would much rather you thought about it first -- that is the main reason I bother to write these blog entries after all, in the hope that I can open the eyes of just one person and make them think for themselves -- and that you realised I am in fact just another mild-mannered realist. To be more specific, I am more of a Libertarian, which I know to most people is a byword for 'fascist', but really you need to learn to think things through for yourself in that case, rather than automatically react the way you have been conditioned to. To me, Libertarian simply means I look after myself rather than expecting someone else to catch me all the time and do everything for me. There is a role for government, but it is much narrower than the current assumed responsibilities: to uphold the rule of law; protect property rights; protect the rights and freedoms of all citizens; provide some key services for the greater good of the public. What is so fascist about that? I would argue that having a socialist regime deciding everything we can and cannot do, extorting money from us under threat of violence and imprisonment to pay for it all, monitoring all aspects of our lives, is far more of a fascist concept. But thinking for yourself is so last generation, I realise.
Previous generations fought long, bitter and bloody wars to prevent this kind of socialist evil coming to our shores. Now generally speaking people will argue vehemently for it. How times have changed.