There once was a time when Americans visiting communist countries would make fun of the ubiquity of their superfluous and redundant workers.
I still remember my first trip to the People’s Republic of China in 1981. Only two years ago, the country had begun its “capitalist” economic reforms and opened itself to the West. Then, as now, China is a one-party state, where the Communist Party wields monopolistic power.
While waiting in Beijing airport for my flight back to the United States, I saw a team of about 10 workers constructing a new departure/arrival gate. I was amused that most of the workers weren’t actually working, but instead stood idly by, chatting and smoking. One woman was squatted down on the floor cooking noodles in a small pot over a grill.
Little did I know that years later, we would have the EXACT same surplus and superfluous labor here in America.
The standard joke in socialist countries is: “The state pretends to pay us, and we pretend to work.” But we do them one better here in Amerika: “We pretend to work, and
the state taxpayers pay us! — and they pay us well!”
See also “What’s wrong with government in one graph“.
H/t FOTM’s Wild Bill Alaska