The spectacular loss of American jobs is devastating to more Americans than the oil spill in the gulf, but Barack Obama still doesn't get it. This month he bragged to an audience of truckers in Hyattsville, Md., that our economy is "getting stronger by the day."
The U.S. Labor Department reports a very different picture. The number of long-term unemployed, defined as Americans out of work for 27 or more weeks, is at its highest level since the Labor Department began collecting such data in the 1940s.
More bad news comes from the Labor Department. In May, 431,000 jobs were added, but nine-tenths of them were government jobs.
Unemployment of young men is the highest in 61 years of recordkeeping, according to the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. The numbers for minority teenagers are tragic.
Obama's $787 billion federal stimulus program was packaged in mental images of construction workers in hard hats. However, most of those hired with stimulus dollars were government employees.
More than half of stimulus jobs were in education, mostly women, which was part of his payoff to the feminists. Many states expanded staff for teaching and education administration at the same time that they had a declining enrollment of students.
The rest of America may be suffering from a recession, but it's boom time for federal employees. On average, federal employees are paid $71,206 per year, compared to $40,331 for private-sector workers.
Those figures are just the start of the comfort of being a federal employee. When you include benefits such as health care and retirement, federal employees make almost double what private-sector employees receive: $119,982 versus $59,909.
Stay tuned: Federal employees receive raises practically every year. From December 2007 through June 2009, average federal government salaries increased 6.6 percent, while private sector salaries increased 3.9 percent. Most federal workers also get periodic pay hikes, called steps, which average 1.5 percent per year.
Federal employees don't spend much time worrying about being laid off, or about their jobs being transferred to China or Mexico -- the worry that hangs over private-sector workers. Under Obama, federal jobs keep increasing in number, not diminishing.
And there's more. Nineteen percent of federal employees make more than $100,000 a year. That's before benefits, overtime pay and bonuses are counted.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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