Rehire all the teachers, social workers, police, and other public service employees who were laid off in the recession: This sounds and “feels” terrific – why wouldn’t everybody want full employment for teachers, cops, and so forth? The real question, however, is this: how badly were federal, state and local government workers actually hurt by the recession, as compared to us lowly people who work in the private sector?
In truth, huge chunks of President Obama’s “stimulus bill” funds were spent either on state and local government workers themselves, or on government programs that provided things for already existing government employees to do. The Obama Adminstration’s “Race to the Top” program for public schools took $4.35 billion out of the stimulus bill fund, and gave employed teachers and school administrators lots of hoops to jump through. The Administration’s “Booty Call” sexually transmitted diseases education program spent another $335 million of the stimulus funds, and gave government social workers lots of important things to do (although one can imagine that this program, in particular, stimulated something other than the economy).
Indeed, state and local government workers (as well as federal employees) have done relatively well since the recession, as compared to the rest of us. Combine this with the fact that most all government employees receive a defined benefit retirement pension that is backed by taxpayers (where do you fine retirement like that in the private sector these days?), and a government job looks pretty confortable in light of the frailties of the private sector.
Raise the minimum wage at least to its inflation-adjusted value 40 years ago — which would be well over $10 an hour: Once again it feels good to propose such an idea, as long as you don’t look at the consequences – and higher wage requirements imposed by governments almost always bring about a decline in business and job growth.
Worse yet, Reich makes no reference in his recent editorial to the actual source of genuine job creation: the local small business owner who is willing to work hard, take risks, and hopefully create genuine authentic wealth over time. If liberals would listen to what small business America is saying, they might learn about the perils of a lack of small business lending, or the fear instilled in the hearts of business owners by an out of control I.R.S. and E.P.A. and U.S. Department of Justice.
But to acknowledge that government agencies and programs might be a part of our economic problem is incomprehensible to the government-centric liberals among us. Hopefully there are sufficient numbers of our fellow Americans who do comprehend this reality, and make better choices in the elections that lie ahead.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.
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