The Roosevelt Institute’s March 2012 publication, The GOP’s State Project of Slashing the Public Workforce, reports that public sector employment declined 2.6% over the last three years, the highest on record. This has had a significant drag on the economy as a whole.
There were 265,000 fewer government workers in December 2011 than there were a year before, accounting for a decline of 1.2 percent of the total government workforce. This comes after the government lost 221,000 jobs during 2010, for a decline of almost 1 percent. All in all, the three years of the Obama presidency saw a decline of 2.6 percent in the public workforce, and 2011 was the biggest year.
Most of these losses were at the state level, but they weren’t spread out evenly across all states. The 2011 losses were concentrated in just 12. The 11 states that the Republicans took over during the 2010 midterm elections – Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – account for 40.5 percent of the total losses. By itself, Texas accounts for an additional 31 percent of the total losses. The remaining states make up the rest.
Thus, a full 71% of the 2011 public sector job losses originated from 12 Red states. Their policies continue to hurt the US economy even as they continue to hoard billions of dollars in their state treasuries.
Twelve Red states, 11 of which went Red in 2010, were responsible for almost ¾ of the total public sector job loss in 2011, while sitting on more than $12.5 billion in hoarded state funds. Without these layoffs, economists say, our national unemployment would have been around 7% today. What could be their reason for this? Given the GOP pledge to “make President Obama a one-term president,” one has to wonder.
How else do their actions hurt the economy? The Roosevelt Institute report further explains that
There should have been a much more robust recovery in 2011, and part of the reason it was hampered was the drag that government layoffs had on the overall recovery. Average job growth was 153,000 per month overall. However, that broke down to 175,000 private sector jobs gained and 22,000 public sector jobs lost. In a period of weak aggregate demand, where a multiplier is in effect, this likely had a significant impact on the rest of the economy. Employment and GDP are lower as resources remain idle; the deficit is larger because people are not working and thus tax revenue is lower (and expenditures are likely higher due to increased social safety net spending).
So in essence, these Red-state governments drove up the overall unemployment rate, decreased the GDP, decreased income tax revenues, and increased deficit spending due to forced increase in safety net spending.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment