Tag Archives: public sector jobs

They All Count the Same in the Win/Loss Column

Numbers don’t lie, but you do have to ask them the right questions.

The most recent jobs report-as we all know by now–was awful. Totally flat. There were no net jobs added in August. If we ask “how many more people are working” the answer we get from these numbers is grim. The natural conclusion is that the administration is failing to enact policies that spur job creation.

If we ask a different question, however, we get a different picture–one with dramatically different policy implications.

In August, according to the report, hiring by the private sector was offset by job losses in the public sector. In other words, the savage attacks on public sector employees being waged by governors in a number of states (not just Wisconsin and Ohio), and their insistence on reducing the size of government, are preventing the sort of robust recovery we need.

This wholesale reduction of public sector employment has consequences that its proponents either don’t understand or prefer to ignore. A person without a job no longer pays taxes. He no longer consumes, or at least drastically reduces consumption, and that reduction means lower profits for businesses, which then pay lower taxes and forgo adding workers. Those consequences occur whether the lost job was in the public sector or the private sector.

Back when we had reporters with some experience and media outlets that employed such reporters, there would have been at least some attention paid to the issue of where the job losses occurred. But that was then, this is now.

As my husband reminds me when a bad call causes a team to lose a game they’d otherwise have won, fair or unfair, they all count the same in the won/lost column. So I guess this will count as Obama’s fault. Damn socialist!