The London Times reports on an interesting economic study that looks at which parts of Great Britain have become overly dependent on government:
PARTS of the United Kingdom have become so heavily dependent on government spending that the private sector is generating less than a third of the regional economy, a new analysis has found.
The study of “Soviet Britain” has found the government’s share of output and expenditure has now surged to more than 60% in some areas of England and over 70% elsewhere.
Me: So which parts of the United States are "Soviet America." Robert Reich does a pretty good job, at least, of outlining which industries qualify:
The federal government -- that is, you and I and every other taxpayer -- has taken ownership of giant home mortgagors Fannie and Freddie, which are by now basket cases. We've also put hundreds of millions into Wall Street banks, which are still flowing red ink and seem everyday to be in worse shape. We've bailed out the giant insurer AIG, which is failing. We've given GM and Chrysler the first installments of what are likely to turn into big bailouts. It's hard to find anyone who will place a big bet on the future of these two.
Put it all together and at this rate, the government -- that is, taxpayers -- will own much of the housing, auto, and financial sectors of the economy, those sectors that are failing fastest.
Consider too that the government already finances much of the aerospace industry, which is still doing reasonably well but depends on a foreign policy that itself has been a dismal failure. And a large portion of the pharmaceutical industry and health care sector (through the Medicare and Medicaid, the Medicare drug benefit, and support of basic research). These are in bad shape as well, and it seems likely the Obama administration will try to reorganize much of them.
What's left? Most of high-tech, entertainment, hospitality, retail, and commodities. So far, at least, we taxpayers are not propping them up. And when the economy turns up -- perhaps as soon as next year, most likely later -- these sectors have a good chance of rebounding.