To hear First Minister Alex Salmond tell it, gaining independence from the U.K. is the most pressing issue facing Scots. But a look at the state of the Scottish economy, with public spending totaling more than 55% of GDP, reveals an unsustainably large public sector. This not only drags on the private economy. It also makes it hard to imagine how the Scottish state could ever survive if sundered from subsidies from other U.K. taxpayers.
Today, a quarter of people in Scotland are directly employed in public service. This compares to 20% in England, though it’s still well under Northern Ireland’s near-Greek 29%. But that’s before we count Scotland’s large, effective secondary public-sector market, made up of everything from public-relations firms to construction companies.
Read the rest of the article in the Wall Street Journal.