Hey, GOP? Do Government Jobs Count or Don't They?

Today, the jobs report came out for September.  It's bleak, showing a net loss of 95,000 jobs, despite a gain of 64,000 private sector jobs (marking the ninth straight month of private sector job growth), government layoffs.  The numbers, even accounting for the private sector growth bode poorly for the American economy, and the lives of countless people, without a doubt.  How did this happen?  Austan Goolsbee, the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, explains:
Despite the rise in private sector employment, overall payroll employment fell by 95,000 last month.  In addition to the anticipated layoffs of 77,000 temporary Census jobs, state and local government also experienced a drop in employment of 83,000. [...] The sector with the largest decline was local government, where payrolls declined by 76,000.
Now, the GOP line on the numbers is a little, shall we say, rich.  They have of course been lambasting the 95,000 net loss without noting that the loss of 159,000 government jobs dwarfed the private sector job creation number of 64,000.  It's funny because I could have sworn I heard somewhere that Republicans don't believe government jobs are, well, real.

As the New York Daily News reports, the Republicans have tied themselves into a pretzel trying to spin the jobs numbers.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele today said “95,000 more jobs lost provides further evidence that (Democrats’) agenda of more spending, higher taxes, and bigger government is only fueling more economic uncertainty and making it harder to put Americans back to work.”

Not withstanding that government shrank last month.

In a release headlined “Mr. President, Where Are The Jobs?” the office of Minority Leader John Boehner lamented that “the U.S. Department of Labor released yet another disappointing jobs report showing the economy lost 95,000 jobs in the month of September.”

Again, government jobs.

So how did Steele, Boehner and co. feel about such jobs when they were being created? If now, when they are going away, they are evidence of a crumbling economy, were they evidence of improvement when the showed up in the stats?

Nah.

“No matter what spin the White House puts on these job numbers, it is unacceptable for President Obama to declare economic success when unemployment remains at 9.7% and a large portion of the job growth came from temporary boost in government employment,” Steele said after the economy added 162,000 jobs in March, including government jobs.
“A near ten-percent unemployment rate is completely unacceptable, and no amount of taxpayer-funded temporary census workers can mask the pummeling America’s employers are taking from Washington Democrats’ job-killing agenda,” said Boehner of April’s 290,000-job uptick.

“The reality is that these numbers are greatly inflated by hundreds of thousands of government census jobs that are both temporary and based on questionable reporting,” said RNC Chairman Michael Steele after the May employment figures showed 431,000 new jobs, many thanks to the census.
Here's Michael Steele last year, saying that only jobs are the ones created by businesses, i.e. in the private sector.



Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) excoriated government and military jobs because he thinks they don't "create wealth."

So which is it?  Does the GOP believe government employment is jobs and that government can and does create jobs, or does it believe that it doesn't?  If the former, then the GOP owes all of us an apology for their near-unanimous opposition to the Recovery Act, other stimulus measures including state aid, as well as blocking unemployment aid in the Senate.  If the latter, then they need to be true to their philosophy and conclude that 64,000 net jobs were added last month, and none that count (since government jobs, in their view don't count) were lost.  They can't have it both ways.

Of course, we kind of know the answer to this question.  The answer is that the modern GOP has no interest in doing anything to actually create jobs.  They have time and again stood in the way of policies that would create jobs.  Their near unanimous opposition ended up causing the stimulus package to be smaller than it needed to be.  John Boehner and Republicans whined and moaned when Speaker Pelosi brought the House back to session to pass a $26 billion package (that too was scaled down thanks to the Senate Republican obstructionism) to help states keep teachers, police and firefighters on the job, calling the bill a "bailout."  Apparently, making sure there are teachers in our classrooms when the kids got back to school is a "bailout."  Republican senators praised their own Jim Bunning for cowardly blocking unemployment benefits.  Mind you, unemployment benefits are one of the best stimulants for the economy.  And it's not me saying that.  It's very respected economists.  Hell, they even voted en masse against a small business tax cut and lending bill supported by the Chamber of Commerce.

Once again, the Republican party has no interest in pursuing policies that create jobs.  They have an interest in pursuing tax giveaways to multinational corporations to ship our jobs overseas, giving massive tax breaks to millionaires, shielding trust fund babies from paying their fair share, and in paying rich people not to work.  It is their policies that plunged America into the deepest economic recession since the Great Depression (note: Great Depression also caused by Republican policies).  The popular saying is that Republicans believe in trickle down economics, but that's not really true either.  They have no interest in having wealth trickle down.  They have every interest in having wealth trickle up to the rich from the poor, and then making sure they shut the door to economic upward mobility.  The Republicans are selling snake oil.  Don't buy it.

It's the Democrats that have been moving this country forward in the most difficult of time in generations.  Despite all the derogatory comments directed at it, the Recovery Act is responsible for saving or creating 3.5 million jobs.  The auto industry rescue is responsible for saving another one million auto worker jobs.  Democrats have expanded unemployment insurance benefits and kept more police, teachers and firefighters on the job than would have without federal help.  We have delivered on small business aid that will help create jobs.  If jobs are your concern, it's the Democratic party that is on your side, and it's the Republican party that wants your money so they can give more than $100,000 in tax cuts to every millionaire in America.  It's your choice.  Get out, vote, bring a friend to the voting booth with you, and vote Democratic.