Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Harry Reid jumps the shark, and the dolphin, and the whale...

On the floor of the Senate during a debate for a $35 billion bailout bill for State and local governments, Harry Reid said thusly:
"...It’s very clear that private sector jobs have been doing just fine. It’s the public sector jobs where we’ve lost huge numbers, and that’s what this legislation is all about.”
 Yes, he's absolutely serious. What he's talking about are State and local public sector jobs, like teachers, police officers, and fire fighters. And there's a small amount of truth here: there has been a increased number of public employees getting fired or laid off in the last several years.

But who--aside from Reid--thinks it has actually been worse in the public sector than in the private sector? Who thinks the private sector is doing "just fine"? Newsflash, Mr. Reid: if the private sector was fully recovered, there'd be revenue and need for the the public sector jobs that have been lost.

James Sherk at the Heritage Foundation gives us some numbers, and a nice chart:
Senator Reid is not just mistaken; he has his facts exactly backwards. If the recession has barely touched one sector of the economy, it is government. Since the recession began in December 2007 the private sector shed 6.3 million net jobs, while government payrolls are down by just 392,000.
(courtesy of

That's a fairly stark contrast. Sure, one could argue that the private sector is trending up, while the public sector is trending down, but note the time lapse: the economy tanks, private sector employment numbers go off a cliff, while government jobs actually go up or stay flat...for a year and a half! One could almost argue that the lost revenue--from the recession--was realized in the next fiscal year and forced governments to take action. And that--in fact--is exactly what happened at the State and local level. Federal jobs? Well, that's a different story. In February of this year, the Heritage Foundation put up another nice chart:

(courtesy of

But what we really see on display here is the Great Conceit of federal politicians, particularly those on the left: they actually believe that the economy springs from and follows the government. In this flawed world view, a drop-off in government hiring is the cause of economic woes, not the consequence. To be fair, it's not a nefarious conceit, at all. They truly believe that they have it right, that they can predict and control the economy via government mandate. If only...

Cheers, all.

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