Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jobs, Public And Private

It is stock conservative propaganda- private sector jobs decline while public sector jobs keep increasing. Accordingly, and going from insinuation to insinuation, Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday claimed

That's what Velma Hart was essentially saying to Obama. "I'm exhausted defending you. When's all this magic supposed to happen? Is this my lot in life? Is this my new reality?" You know, where's the new car, where's the new kitchen? You know, where's the vacation to Port-au-Prince? Where's my cruise ship food that I can throw away? Where is it? Not out there. No, but Bob, the Republicans, your expectations here -- nobody's gonna run for office bashing government jobs. Those are voters and there are more and more of them, there are millions of them out there, Bob. And, you know, the more government workers there are the less work each of them has to do.

Leaving aside Limbaugh's inferences about Velma Hart (did she really ask for a new car, kitchen, vacation, and cruise ship food), the remark "the more government workers there are the less work each of them has to do" conveyed two points to his listeners: government workers are lazy, and there are more of them than ever.

But the decline in the number of government workers has struck services provided to Americans throughout the country. The following graph from the Economic Policy Institute shows the trend from July, 2008 (approximately 6-7 months before the end of the Bush Administration) through July, 2010, 18-19 months into the Obama Administration.

Ross Eisenbrey and Kai Fillion summarize

Legislation passed the Senate last week to slow this tide of unemployment—$16.1 billion of funding for state Medicaid programs and $10 billion to save education jobs. We estimate that the Medicaid funds will save 158,000 jobs, including police officers, firefighters, and health care workers. But more than half the jobs saved will be in the private sector, including workers who contract for or supply services to state and local governments. The Department of Education estimates that the education funds will save another 161,000 jobs in public schools.

Were the money actually to save a full 161,000 teaching jobs (which it will not), it still would not compensate for the full loss of jobs in the public sector since assumption of the presidency by the "socialist" Obama. Meanwhile, the private sector continues to grow under our "Marxist" president, as this graph from Steve Benen of the trend from January 2008 through August 2010 indicates:

Oh, dear. As a Marxist and socialist who, as Limbaugh has contended before, is out to destroy the private sector, President Obama is doing a terrible job, presiding over a gain in employment in the private sector, following a Republican president who steered us to losses in private employment.

But.... Rush is right! He says "the more government workers there are the less work each of them has to do." That is undoubtedly true, as is its corollary: the fewer government workers there are the more work each of them has to do. And it seems likely that even with the rescue of some jobs, teachers across most of the country still will be themselves buying pencils and paper and chalk and other basic equipment for their students. They will be working more hours and taking on more assignments, as will public sector employees across the spectrum.

So, too, will workers in the private sector. It would be something special if, in the course of bashing public employees and exalting the private sector, Limbaugh might at least feign a little concern for workers in private employment.

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