Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Boehner vs. Bush on Jobs

Back on August 11, 2005 the Associated Press ran a story reporting President Bush’s comments on a transportation-spending bill. “President Bush calls the massive $286.4 billion transportation spending bill he signed into law Wednesday a job creator.” The article goes on to describe the bill that pays for 6,000 favored projects in the districts of nearly every member of Congress. Even though the legislation is $30 billion more than the President recommended he is quoted as “proud to sign it.”

Where is George Bush when we need him? Instead we look at the grim-face of glum and gloomy John Boehner. The Washington Post wrote “House speaker John Boehner dismissed concerns Tuesday about the potential for federal job cuts, saying he thinks the government can’t afford to keep so many workers.” Boehner was quoted when he said “Over the last two years since President Obama has taken office, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal government jobs. And if some those jobs are lost in this, so be it.”

Actually the Federal government excluding the Post Office has 140,800 more jobs since January 2009 as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which does not offset the losses to jobs in state and local government. State jobs excluding education are down 82.6 thousand from their high in August 2008. Local jobs excluding education are down 203 thousand from their high in July 2009. State and local education jobs reached a high in September 2008, but they are also down by 145 thousand jobs as of December 2010.

Government including education at the state, local and federal level has 22.2 million jobs as of December 2010, which is 17 percent of total establishment employment. Government employment undercounts jobs that are the result of government taxing and spending such as employment in the highway, street and bridge construction industry. These jobs are on private payrolls even though their jobs are really the result of government spending. The terms government contractor, outsourcing and privatization all connote private businesses, but they are private businesses doing government funded and government sponsored work. Government employment added to government sponsored employment is more than a mere 22.2 million: much more.

Private sector jobs dropped 653 thousand during the eight years George Bush was in office from January 2001 to January 2009, which was also a 1.2 percent drop in the percentage share of private sector jobs. Yet the record shows Republican George Bush understood the connection between spending and jobs even as he pursued policies favored by business.

Now Republican Boehner blithely promotes government spending and job cuts with a glib put down, “So be it.” If government jobs are allowed to decline, private sector jobs will decline with them. If Mr. Boehner doubts that he should talk with George Bush.


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