GOP “Austerity” is Crippling Economic Recovery. And more IOKIYAR. (UPDATED)
Okay, this is going to be another brief but “numbers-heavy” debunking session, so let’s wrap this thing up for all you NeoCons douchebags out there who stumbled across this page in a Google search for the “Numbers-porn” that masquerades as “facts” on the Fox News website. As I surmised Friday night, this insane Republican adherence to “austerity” is crippling the economic recovery. But when Republicans are in charge, “austerity” and “deficits” be damned. They do the exact opposite then “brag” about the results. (And I wasn’t the only one to notice. Rachel Maddow noted the EXACT same thing Friday, of how Republicans increased PUBLIC sector jobs at a rate greater than the PRIVATE Sector, while Democrats do just the opposite, creating FAR more jobs in the private sector while slashing public sector jobs… only to then be called “Socialists” by the Right.)
last three Republican Administrations
Private vs Public Sector Hiring under the
last three Democratic Administrations
(Not sure why they labeled the chart according to “GDP”. I believe they are charting jobs by way of spending on employment.)
As I noted earlier, when unemployment hit 10.8% in November & December of Ronald Reagan’s SECOND year in office (you need to enter the range by hand), my suspicion was that Reagan’s “solution” to the high unemployment numbers was to stop the deliberate cuts in public sector jobs (following his pledge to slash the size of government) and start hiring. As it turns out, Nobel-Prize winning economist Paul Krugmann “confirmed” my suspicion in an Op/Ed he wrote last March. Though he lacked links (which I rely on heavily to back-up my claims), Krugmann does note that “government employment [rose] 3.1 percent” under Reagan, whereas under Obama, government employment has shrunk “2.7 percent”. That’s a swing of nearly 6%.
Checking The Bureau of Labor Statistics (select “Government Employment” for data) for the number of public sector jobs created per month during Ronald Reagan’s presidency (1981-1988), we see government layoffs were put on ice right around the time unemployment breaks the 10 percent mark in mid 1982, followed by a public sector hiring binge coinciding with the start of the 1984 election year:
Meanwhile, under President Obama, public sector hiring is falling through the floor (with the exception of 411,000 temporary Census workers added in mid-2010):
(Now that I have access to individual state employment data, I will attempt to prove my hypothesis that Red States are disproportionately laying off public employees and thus dragging down President Obama’s job creation numbers. It will take some time to analyze all 50 states, so I hope to post my results in an update later this week. Please bear with me.)
Right-Wing CNS News credited Reagan’s government “hiring freeze” in ’81 for his economic success (which, as I’ve shown above, is complete nonsense) while criticizing President Obama’s “government expansion” for the decline in the economy (ibid). Do these people even do the most cursory of fact checking? It’s infuriating what they get away with. As I noted last week (and the NYTimes confirms), we’ve seen a record decline in the number of government jobs under President Obama. Republicans kick & scream about “the size of the Federal government”, then when the Obama Administration slashes government jobs, they run to the microphones to decry the weak jobs numbers as PROOF the presidents economic policies aren’t working. This is what George Foreman called “Rope-a-Dope”.
One idiot over at the Right-wing rag “NewsBusters” called Bill Maher “an idiot or a liar” last February for claiming “Public Sector employment lost 500,000 jobs” when in fact “the FEDERAL government grew” not shrank. Perhaps the columnists over at “NewsBusters” should crack open a dictionary sometime to discover that “public sector” includes not just the “federal” government, but “state & local” government too. We’re surrounded by idiots.
On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney criticized the April jobs report, saying that “the economy should be creating 500,000 jobs a month” and that “the unemployment rate should be just 4 percent”. Columnist Henry Blodget over on the “Business Insider” website takes Romney to task for such an asinine suggestion, pointing out that under the last Republican Administration whose policies Romney wants us to return to (Bush), the economy created an average of just 20,000 jobs a month. “Ah!”, I hear the neocons saying, “What if you exclude the 2008 economic collapse under the Democrats?” Then Bush’s monthly job creation numbers climb to a paltry 65,000 jobs per month. Number of months under Bush where the economy created that magic 500,000 jobs number Romney says we should be creating? ZERO. Never even came close. The last time we saw unemployment at or below 4.0% (ibid the BLS) was December of 2000 (the last year of the Clinton Administration), when Clinton supposedly “handed Bush a recession”.
President Obama, you’ve already echoed President Reagan on The Buffet Rule and tax fairness for the Middle-Class. One more area where I suggest you follow The Gipper’s lead: government employment. Employing people when the private sector will not boosts the economy, builds our infrastructure, and helps keep job skills fresh, all while bringing down the unemployment rate.
UPDATE 5/9: A bit of a surprise. After checking the number of Public Sector Jobs added/eliminated since the Bush Administration, I found something surprising. Public Sector hiring pretty much fell off the map in ALL 50 STATES regardless of Party. As suspected, State & Local “Austerity” is dragging down the National employment figures. But it turns out, the states practicing Austerity are more likely to be BLUE than Red. Even more shocking (or maybe not), Republican governors are almost 20% more likely to be big freaking hypocrites by using Public Sector hiring to bring down their unemployment rate (worst offender: Rick ”Texas Miracle” Perry). I found the results so fascinating, I changed the title of this post from “Red State Austerity…” to ”GOP Austerity…” and decided my analysis deserves its own post, which I hope to have for you next Monday.
BREAKING NEWS – France & Greece have told their Pro-Austerity anti-tax-the-rich Conservative presidents to take a hike in huge election upsets. I remind you that in 2007, then candidate Sarokzy of France visited frequently with President Bush, going on boat rides and even once saying he hoped to model his presidency after him. I noted in a video-upload last week that the Greeks were declaring that “Austerity was making things worse”, and it appears now they weren’t bluffing. It will be interesting to see what comes of these dramatic election results where angry middle-class voters have rejected the “common knowledge” of the moneyed elites in favor of economic solutions that call for increased government spending funded by taxing the wealthy.
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