The United States had 2.3 state and local government employees per 100 citizens in 1946 and has 6.5 state and local government employees per 100 citizens now. In 1947, Hodges writes, 78 percent of the national income went to the private sector, 16 percent to the federal sector, and 6 percent to the state and local government sector. Now 54 percent of the economy is private, 28 percent goes to the feds, and 18 percent goes to state and local governments. The trend lines are ominous.
It has gotten to the point where one often hears that saving jobs requires supporting state and local governments. (Note that sometimes the solemn pronouncements that aid to states is a compelling public need are made by professors on the salary of state governments.)
A reader wrote to me to gloat over the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts, asking if I would update my "one-party state" watch. I will admit that the fortunes of the Democratic Party have taken a faster and larger drop than I would have expected. But the Scott Brown election is one short-term event. The Greenhut article explains what we are up against in terms of long-term trends.
Which is a greater threat to democracy: political activity of public-sector unions, or political activity of corporations? I would argue that it is the former, by a lot. However, it is regulation of the latter that is topmost on the agenda, to the point where some are suggesting amending the Constitution.