Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Private-Sector President: The Story of Barack "Job-killer" Obama

As you probably garnered from the title, I'm being sarcastic. But anyways, what am I on about now? Well, I just want to point out a few things that some people seem to miss when they criticize the President for being a private-sector-strangling job-killer.

First up, if Obama's policies were strangling corporations, then why are they experiencing record-breaking profits? The usual caveats apply to this, but still, food for thought.

Moving on to last Friday's jobs report. As of now, the U.S. economy has regained all of the private-sector jobs lost since Obama took office. Just to put a number on it, that means that we've regained 4.2 million private sector jobs under Obama's administration. Considering the total jobs lost in the Great Recession (June 2007-2009) was around 7.5 million jobs, we obviously have a ways to go, but that's not the point I'm trying to make right now (readers already know what I think needs to be done). Anyway, that's only private sector jobs, what about jobs in the public sector? Obama's big-government policies have led to a massive growth in our bureaucracy, right? Well, believe it or not, there have been 607,000 jobs lost in the public sector, largely from state and local cutbacks due to no federal aid. For you visual learners out there, here's a graph to illustrate it:


Socialism. That's it, right there. (The blip in mid-2010 is Census hiring)

How can this be, you might ask? The deficit is massive! Where's all that money going? Well, most of it is basically going to social safety net programs and unemployment insurance, which have grown because people are unemployed. Compounding this is the fact that since people are unemployed, there are a lot fewer people paying taxes. Just for good measure, throw in the war in Afghanistan and rising medical costs. Et voila, you've got yourself a massive deficit. 

But back to my main point. People like to complain that Obama is anti-business, or anti-private sector, but is he really? The vast majority of the jobs gained under him have been in the private sector, while most of the jobs lost under him have been government jobs. That's hardly what I'd call socialism. Historically speaking, public sector employment has always gone up after recent recessions, not down. For example, under Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II, government employment all went up:

If it quacks like a socialist... 

In fact, if more federal aid had been provided to states (which Republicans blocked), and public sector job growth had kept up with the historical trend shown above, we'd have something like 1.2-1.7 million more jobs today. These jobs wouldn't just be a bunch of bureaucratic desk jobs either, many would be for teachers, cops, firefighters, and the like. A quick calculation suggests that if we had that many more jobs right now, we'd be sitting around 7-7.5% unemployment. 

So Republicans are attacking the President because he's a "big-government socialist," when the data show that he is, in fact, quite the opposite. I guess they only like public sector job growth if they do it. And the great irony in all of this is that if he was more of a "big-government socialist" like Reagan and the Bushes, our recovery would be quite a bit better.

Sad, isn't it?