Saturday, February 8, 2014

Austerity - The Job Killer

From the appropriately-named Mother Jones, we learn that austerity is a job killer:
January's job numbers were fairly dismal, but the bad cheer wasn't equally spread. Private sector employment, as usual, increased—by 142,000 jobs last month. At the same time, public sector employment declined. Government employment at all levels was down 29,000 in January.

Aside from the brief census blip in early 2010, this has been the usual state of affairs for the past four years, ever since the recession officially ended. The chart below shows public and private sector employment indexed to 100 at the end of the recession. Private sector employment is up 6.8 percent. Public sector employment is down 3.4 percent. And that's during a period when population grew 2.3 percent. On a per capita basis, government employment has declined more than 5 percent since 2009, and it's still declining.

This is the price of austerity. If public sector employment had been growing normally during this period, we'd have about a million more jobs than we do now and the unemployment rate would probably be below 6 percent. We are our own worst enemies.
Remember this when you hear one of the idiotic teahadists go on one of their small government tirades or two-faced plutocrats say that they are looking for "efficiencies" (meaning privatization). They're not worried about your taxes.  All they are doing is looking to take away and keep away good paying jobs from us.  That way they can keep the money where they think it belongs - in their pockets.


  1. The unspoken part of this is that many of those public sector jobs have been converted to private sector ones. A great example is the maintenance and janitorial service at the Milwaukee Court House. The private sector workers get few if any benefits and are paid much less while the contractor reaps the difference. Its difficult to gauge the net effect because public employees wages are visible to the public but the private company's are not. This includes how many public services the private employees have to avail themselves of in order to subsidize the substantially lower wages or for that matter its impact on tax revenues and commerce lost from unrealized wages.

  2. This is true for professional positions as well. Lots of IT work for the state is done by contractors. It costs more to do it that way, but since those costs are reflected in the "supplies/services" line in the budget and not "salary/fringe", it really isn't acknowledged or noticed. Keeping the number of state employees down is the main goal, even if you have to hire more contractors to get the work done.

    1. As with Act 10, yes, the main goal is to attack public service ("big government") workers from any angle they can. This is all supposed to reduce the national debt.
      People (the public in general, not the wealthiest) depend on public services to survive.
      Whether you're a public school teacher, a legislator, or a municipal worker of some sort, you are a target of the wealthiest.
      Aside from eliminating taxes all together, they want it "flattened," ruling out any PROGRESSIVE form of taxation or government.
      Please, notice Scott Walker's campaign promise: 250,000 jobs. He did NOT say NET job creations (or their monetary ability to support to pay for a family), just a number that doesn't mention the number of public sector jobs he would eliminate.
      Thus, a charter school teacher is only a job creation--one of the 250,000 promised--while a public school teacher who is eliminated is not even considered in the equation of job creation.