Should We Hire Even More Teachers, Cops, and Firemen?

Not if we want the economy to recover any time soon.

Though it feels like it was about a thousand years ago, it was only a couple of weeks back that President Barack Obama announced that the private sector was "doing fine" and that it was the public sector that really needed a helping hand getting through this furshlugginer economy. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney bravely critiqued his presidential sparring partner by averring:

"[Obama] says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers....It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people."

In the very best political tradition, each candidate immediately walked back his original statement through heavy—and half-hearted—qualification. Obama corrected himself by saying, "It is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine" and Romney said that it's "completely absurd" to say he'd pink-slip cops, firemen, and teachers because they are mostly hired at the state and local level (forget for a moment that a ton of federal dough is spent on hiring state-and-local cops, firemen, and teachers).

Whatever. A real question remains, and it's one that affects the objectively dreary state of public-sector America, which is flat-out broke at every level of government. Do we in fact have our staffing levels for teachers, cops, and firemen right? Could we get by with fewer of these sorts of employees or do we need yet more, to make up for the supposedly draconian cuts that have descended upon schoolhouses, police departments, and firehouses like Herod's minions murdering innocents?

A lot of Obama's stimulus was spent on keeping public-sector payrolls going full-tilt and now that the stimulus has dried up (and clearly failed to "prime the pump" of general economic activity in any serious way), some of those folks are being let go. At least at the state and local level. As Keith Hennessey notes, outside of the Postal Service (which has long been shrinking), Obama has added 1420,000 workers to the federal payroll.

Before we look at teachers, cops, and firemen in turn, consider the overall plight of working America. Here's a chart of private- and public-sector job losses since January 2009. Public-sector employment is indeed down from where it was back then and private-sector jobs are back to about where they were when Obama took office (though still lower than they were in pre-recession times; about 4 million jobs total have vanished since the start of the Great Recession in 2007, and 80 percent of those losses were in the private sector).

Despite recent cuts to the public-sector workforce, fears of teacher-less classrooms, cop-free streets, and empty firehouses are misplaced.

When it comes to teachers, in 2008 (the last year for which the federal government lists actual data), there were 15.3 pupils per teacher in public K-12 schools. That's the lowest recorded number. In 1998, the number was 16.4 and in 1978, it was 19.3. Over this same time period, the amount of money per student has increased tremendously and scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) have stayed flat at best. Since 1970, the number of public-school students has increased by about 9 percent while the number of public-school employees (teachers plus everyone else) has increased by 96 percent. Something ain't right there. It seems quite plausible that states and local school districts can lose a good chunk of teachers without significantly impairing the quality (that may not be the right word) of K-12 public education.

What about cops? According to Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 1992 there were 332 "full-tme state and local law enforcement employees per 100,000 residents." By 2008, that number had jumped to 373 full-timers. To be fair, crime has been declining over that time frame, so maybe the extra cops have really made a difference. Yet most experts point to factors other than the sheer number of law enforcement employees to explain the decline. The population is aging, which correlates with less crime; the sorts of gadgets and gizmos that get ripped off are more affordable for everyone, leading to less crime; surveillance cameras (both private and public) seem to have chilled thefts and assaults; and more. So there's every reason to believe that we can scrimp on high-cost uniformed cops and not be met with a crime wave that will turn even Smallville, USA into Gotham City any time soon.

Then there's firefighters. Data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) tracks the number of firefighters between 1986 and 2010. In 1986, there was a total of 4.35 volunteer and career firefighters per 1,000 Americans. That number dropped to 3.57 firefighters per 1,000 people in 2010. The number of career firefighters—these are the ones who are compensated by taxpayers—has remained relatively stable though, going from 1.73 per 1,000 people to 1.53 per 1,000 people. That's not much of a drop and it's worth pointing out that firefighting, unlike teaching or police work, doesn't scale the same way relative to population. Having more (or fewer people) doesn't clearly mean more (or fewer) fires. In any case, NFPA data show a decrease in "incidents attended by public fire departments." In 2003 (the oldest year I could find data for), for instance, public fire departments covered 1.6 million fires. In 2010, the numbers was 1.33 million. More people, fewer firemen, and fewer fires. That's great news.

So it seems that the American public can get by with fewer public-sector employees without spiraling down into chaos. Unless you believe that the primary function of the public sector is to be a jobs program, there is no reason to sweat recent cuts to public-sector jobs, whose numbers, as Mickey Kaus has pointed out, have "been bloating since around 1980." Obesity isn't just about food, it turns out.

As it happens, Nobel-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and many others (let's call them stimulatarians), seem to believe that a key function of government is precisely to employ lots of people who otherwise would look for work elsewhere. He argues that growth in public-sector employment is all that stands between recession and recovery:

Conservatives would have you believe that our disappointing economic performance has somehow been caused by excessive government spending, which crowds out private job creation. But the reality is that private-sector job growth has more or less matched the recoveries from the last two recessions; the big difference this time is an unprecedented fall in public employment, which is now about 1.4 million jobs less than it would be if it had grown as fast as it did under President George W. Bush.

I happen to think that the really big difference between this recession and the last two are the absolutely humongous interventions into the economy by the federal government via the stimulus, TARP, and ObamaCare (whose uncertain legal status and cost estimates can't in any way have helped businessess want to hire more people). I may be forgetting the great Pets.com bailout of 2001, but I don't think so. What's more, argues Krugman in a recent column, the lackluster experience of Ireland's "austerity" program, in which 28,000 public workers were canned over a few years, shows that reducing public payrolls is no way to win the future:

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...like Herod's minions murdering innocents?

    Can we get a more relevant analogy? "...like Joffrey's massacre of Robert's bastards."

  • SlowburnAZ||

    This

  • Anonymous Coward||

    That's TV!Joffrey. Book!Joffrey was not aware of Robert's numerous natural children. Book!Cersei is responsible for killing Robert's bastards and it's for no better reason than spite.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    CAPTION:

    "Dude! C'mon in - these tar pits are AWESOME!"

  • Mr. FIFY||

    But... but... public-sector workers are the only ones that count! Besides, you can't professionalize until you federalize! Also, profit is evil!

    /liberal logic

  • niobiumstudio||

    I have one comment about the "96% increase in school employees." While it might seem they are mostly teachers, DO THE MATH! MOST of those hires are in fact NOT teachers. Most of those hires are bureaucratic hires. People like business administrators, sub-superintendents, managers of all sorts, extra figure heads like "disciplinary chairs" (as opposed to just a principle and vice principal). The pupil-to-teacher ratio suggests that there are only TWENTY PERCENT MORE TEACHERS (20.7%) since the 70's. Yet, school hires are up 96% percent. That means 75.3% of those school hires are NOT TEACHERS. I don't think teachers are the problem, and they are only 3 or 4 rungs up the totem pole from the bottom when it comes to salary. All the administrators are making 2-3x what the teachers are making and they are the #1 reason why education in this country has gone up so much.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Duh. That's been pointed out at this site approximately a lot of times. Recently.

    Stop by more often to keep up.

    Also, NICE use of CAPS to EMPHASIZE cerTAIN things!!1!one1!

  • niobiumstudio||

    I have seen very little about this in the 6 months or so I have read HR and actively commented here. But, I have seen tons of shit about teachers fucking things up. And fuck you and your whining about my caps with all due respect.

  • wareagle||

    nio makes a good point and I must be as obtuse as he/she is accused of being since most stories about education either explicitly or implicitly refer to teachers.

    Quick comparison: my 1,300 student high school had one principal, one asst., one guidance counselor. My kids graduated from a similar size school where the single principle had 5 assistants and about a half-dozen guidance counselors. Lot of payroll not involved in teaching.

  • niobiumstudio||

    Exactly, I didn't see Nick mention the ballooning bureaucracy in our schools. He mentioned student to teacher ratios going up, then went to 96% hiring increases forcing you to do the math yourself. The fact is student to teacher ratios are far less relevant then the fact that administration has increased by 75% over the past 30 years while teachers have only increased 20%. Considering administrators make 2-3x as much, that would mean the lions share of increases in education (around 90% or so) went to administration. Money going to teachers is almost negligible in the case of education. Yet they are always the target of artivles like this.

  • ||

    Another huge problem is special ed. My mother who taught for 30 something years used to complain about this all the time. Last time I looked at the published financial accounts of Albuquerque Public Schools, where I grew up (quite a while back, say early 90s) the budget for spec. ed was 30% of the total budget.

  • ||

    Considering administrators make 2-3x as much, that would mean the lions share of increases in education (around 90% or so) went to administration.

    Let me put this as delicately as possible: you don't know what you are talking about. My wife is a public school principal with 20 years in the system and a Masters Degree. She makes maybe 1.4 times the salary of a teacher with similar education and time in service. She lost an AP when the school enrollment dropped. And she puts in about 30% more hours.

    Try again.

  • ||

    It varies by school district. Where I live, the principal's salary is approx. twice that of a teacher with equivelant years of experience.

  • ||

    I know it varies by district. Having said that, factor in education and hours worked before deciding what the relative salaries are. My wife has a CBA waved in her face if she asks certain teachers to put in 5 extra minutes.

  • niobiumstudio||

    As Gojira pointed out it varies by district. The Superintendent at the school district my mom works at (her direct boss) is $340,000. The principal is around $180,000. I am not factoring in hours, education, etc., etc. because for this argument it doesn't matter a shit bit. The reason it doesn't matter is because it is FACT that buracracy has ballooned over the past 20 years while teachers have not 20% vs 75%... I am not arguing for principals to be let go. I am talking about people like "disciplinarian", "business executive", "business developer", "IN HOUSE lawyers" and on and on. There are so many pointless, useless positions in school administration and I'm sure you wife has plenty to complain about.

  • ||

    I am talking about people like "disciplinarian", "business executive", "business developer", "IN HOUSE lawyers" and on and on.

    I do not know what school district you are referencing but how many of these non-essential positions are there versus teachers? I would be very surprised if it is 5%. That's not where the money is going. As is clearly pointed out in the article the dramatic decrease in the student/teacher ratio necessarily employs more teachers with no benefit. There is bloat both in and out of the classroom.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Exactly, I didn't see Nick mention the ballooning bureaucracy in our schools.

    Its important to mention the 'other' side does this with the term 'teacher.' Matter of fact, when Clown calls for more teachers, cops and firefighters the more accurate call to action would be for more 'paper shufflers, jack-booted narcs and guys playing cards' but that doesn't have the same ring to it.

    If we don't want teachers called out for the bloat in education, teachers need to separate themselves from that bloat...even if they're all on the same Union ship so-to-speak and THAT'S (CAPS!!) the essential problem.

  • niobiumstudio||

    If we don't want teachers called out for the bloat in education, teachers need to separate themselves from that bloat...even if they're all on the same Union ship so-to-speak and THAT'S (CAPS!!) the essential problem.

    I agree 100%.

  • Harvard||

    It might help if we could all realize and admit they are vastly overpaid for their 180 day work year.

    Time was when the majority of teachers were women, working as a supplement to their husband's income. In the case of head of household teachers, most took seasonal jobs in the summer, realizing a 3 1/2 month vacation meant no pay.
    And while we're at it let's put to rest this necessity of a degree in Education as a prerequisite for a Superintendent. Hire a recent MBA grad from an accredited college (at start up pay), explain to him the product expectation (a substandard education), the income stream (taxes) and the staff (coddled union members) introduce him to his board of direc,tors (idiots who can't balance their own checkbook but who feeeel for the churlren), and let him manage.
    Better yet, privatize education, get results, and solve the entire problem.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Re: wareagle
    I have similar results. Graduated HS in 1987, total school enrollment was @ 1200. 1 principal, 1 asst. principal, 2 guidance counselors. Just went back and looked at their website. Now they have 2 asst. principals, and 6 counselors. Plus, it looks like they have added a bunch of new services, workshops, and other departments, none of which seem to be direct classroom instruction. Also, this is a small city in east-central Indiana, that has lost about 3000 population since I left in 1987.

    Fewer students, more administration. Recipe for success.

  • wareagle||

    but it keeps those union dues a-comin'.

  • GW||

    AND, when budgets are "tight" the response is always "if we don't get a millage increase, we'll have to fire teachers."

    I say screw 'em all.

  • Robert||

    When I was in grade school half a century ago, classes were huge by today's standards. We typically had a little over 40 students per classroom.

  • niobiumstudio||

    When Reason gets a WYSIWYG editor in the comment section I will stop using caps where an em tag should be.

  • T||

    You need a WYSIWYG editor? Really? Are html tags so hard?

  • niobiumstudio||

    I write HTML, CSS, JS, Java, PHP, MySQL, etc., etc., etc. all day every day. Fuck you if you think I want to do it while I am busy procrastinating on work.

  • ||

    You kids these days and your disdain of FORTRAN, tsk tsk. Learn a real language, punk.

  • niobiumstudio||

    I took a Fortran/Cobol review course in college and dropped it. I took "principles of microchip architecture" to replace the credits and dealt with the stupid ass 20 year old processor emulators and machine code instead of that old shit. C++ and Java are way better languages - you know Objects and all... You and your silly logic-less organization of code!

  • Killazontherun||

    You kids these days and your disdain of FORTRAN, tsk tsk. Learn a real language, punk.

    As a teen, I was converting games written in C for the Amiga to Atari ST assembly, so yeah, learn a real language will you.

  • Robert||

    Hell, try programming a Marchant programmable calculator with an accumulator, one other register, the ability to loop but not branch, no memory other than what's in the registers, and 64 total steps. You develop tricks like dividing the contents of a register by itself to synthesize a 1, and dividing by 0 to cause a halt.

  • John||

    Whenever they want to tax you it is all about cops teachers and fireman. But when they actually spend it, it goes to some guy sitting in office chair.

  • T||

    Yup. I don't know about police departments and firefighters, but the amount of useless overhead in public schoool systems is staggering. I'm sure some of it is due to regulatory requirements, but I know for a fact some of it ain't.

  • Libertymike||

    Its no different for the cops and the firebugs. Maybe worse.

  • wareagle||

    cops far more so than firemen. FD's seem to have a lot less admin types.

  • niobiumstudio||

    Which is why it is sad that they are a target when you compare them to cops and school administrators and to some degree teachers themselves. You never hear about firemen beating some minority to death or not saving someone because he is brown. They make way less then police do and they are targeted as well. And they have almost no bureaucracy.

  • ||

    I think it's just the first law of government bureaucracy. The people who actually perform the service are the ones most marginalized by the system. Eventually no one gives a shit about performing a service, ie, actually educating children.

    Shake, mix, repeat, and you've got the formula for every other government service and why they suck.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    That's true of government institutions in general. How many employees of a typical police department actually patrol the streets?

    It reminds me of the observation that Churchill once made that "our military peacock is mostly tail".

  • thom||

    "How many employees of a typical police department actually patrol the streets?"

    Too many.

    I'd prefer firing most of them outright, but if that's not possible, at least put them behind desks where it wouldn't be as easy for them to hurt people.

  • niobiumstudio||

    I have a HUGE problem with sites representing teachers like this, including Reason. They completely misrepresent the problem with education and assume it has to be the teachers when it is NOT. K-8 schools with ~1000 students used to have a makeup of roughly 5 Janitors, 40 Teachers, Principal, Vice Principal, 2 social workers of some sort, 1 tech person, and 5 secretaries or so, and a superintendent. Now, they have the same number of teachers, janitors, secretaries, and social workers yet they doubled the amount of bureaucratic positions and those people make 2-3x what the teachers make. Sure, MAYBE we can cut back on a few teachers, but we should start with the management. 40 teachers don't need 10 or 15 different managers, they need 2, maybe 3 MAX. Nobody EVER talks about how bureaucratic school districts have become over the past 20 years or so. They always just shit on "greedy" teachers and forget the managers get even better benefits and WAY, WAY more money.

  • Randian||

    It's both teachers and their bureaucratic overhead.

    There, are you happy?

    The simple reality is everyone likes to say that teachers are underpaid...and yet one open position will garner hundreds of applications each and every time, from all over the nation.

  • niobiumstudio||

    Sure, but the bureaucratic overhead vastly outweighs the teachers. It's hard to fire teachers without effecting education quality where the administrators are low hanging fruit nobody would object to being fired. They don't enhance education and in many cases get in the way of education. Why they are written about in every article mentioning how fucked up our education system is I don't know...

  • niobiumstudio||

    Of course, because there are so many unemployed teachers. There are so many unemployed teachers because EVERY university has a teaching program and everyone who is 18 years old going into college wants to "help someone" and doesn't think about the money part. Yeah, it's their own damn fault and I won't argue that, but supply of qualified people goes up with the availability of programs. Look at what is going on with pharmacy, especially in NC. Just 4 years ago there were entire counties without pharmacists and only 2 pharmacy programs in the state. Now there are 10 programs and there are hundreds of pharmacists looking for jobs and a shortage of jobs.

  • wareagle||

    NC is in its own weight class in terms of govt doing less with more. The state is gifted with an abundance of industries any economic developer would want, and plagued by politicians who have yet to meet a dollar they could not squander.

    I gave up after 20 years, and while returning is possible, the more immediate concern is three grown children who are working there.

  • niobiumstudio||

    NC is FAR better than where I came from - NJ. You are a 100% right about this state though. Fully agree with you there :-)

    Just curious, where did you move to? Coming from NJ to NC seems night and day. So if I can find a night and day change from NC to somewhere, that is where I would like to go.

  • wareagle||

    currently in FL but not sure I would recommend it for the long haul. No state income tax, which is good, but it is made up for in other ways. Good bit of the so-con version of statism here, too. Pondering the next relocation at the moment.

    Sad part about NC was that the state has a lot to like - the gamut of geography, solid growth industries, quality universities. But it has morons in its political class; every year brings a new budget "shortfall" and the accompanying hand-wringing, often answered by temporary tax increases that become permanent.

  • niobiumstudio||

    Noticed that in the 3 years I've been here. Great work opportunities - making a good deal more money and costs far less to live. I've been looking toward NM after visiting a few times (just no beach!) and Gary Johnson came out of there...

  • wareagle||

    compared to NJ, NC is a good step forward. I would entirely give up on it but good that you have noticed some of its built-in shortcomings. You can obviously do worse; I will be curious to see what you find that is better. Maybe NM is that. Don't know much about it.

  • wareagle||

    oops...should read "would not give up on it...." changes things just a bit.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I've been looking toward NM after visiting a few times (just no beach!) and Gary Johnson came out of there...

    I live in NM. There's some nice things about it (food, climate if you like dry weather, some recreational stuff), but the reality is that this is one big welfare state, especially with all the Indian reservations here. If it wasn't for BigGov spending, especially in the defense industry, NM would still be a glorified sheep ranch.

  • niobiumstudio||

    I love the Snowboarding, Kayaking, Mountaineering, etc. Which is why NC is about as good as you can do for all-around (on the east coast). And I would prefer 0% humidity to 100% humidity EVERY SINGLE GODDAMN DAY. I know exactly what you are saying about the Reservations though, and the still-running hippie communes and shit. Maybe Colorado is a better option?

  • wareagle||

    No, no Colorado. It has been over-run by Californians who insist on bringing the same thing that caused them to pull up stakes and the hipster crowd.

    Nio, for all its faults, NC may be as good as it gets for a while.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Okay, you're butthurt. We got that part.

    If you're making an argument that more teachers do in fact need to be hired, focus on that. I'm sure you've got some facts to back it up.

  • Killazontherun||

    Has to be a better way to get the information in the heads of kids that go under general idea of education than using brain dead communist as a filter between that info and the kids. Let's work on that.

  • niobiumstudio||

    I'm not making the case we need more teachers, but I don't think they should be the target of this. I think we should leave teachers where they are now and fire 50% of the schools administration, cut our education costs in half, and be happy.

  • Killazontherun||

    I get what you are saying. Those are admirable goals worthy of focus for the fact they are somewhat realistic.

    I take a different tact because the administrators will fight them tooth and nail, and before they relent the new world will likely already arrived and moved around the obstruction, just not reaching the kids stuck with the public school bureaucracy.

  • niobiumstudio||

    I bet education wouldn't be the problem it is today if the bureaucracy didn't balloon over the last 2 decades. If the ratio of administrators to teachers stayed where it was 20 years ago, teachers wouldn't be lumped in with "Firemen and Cops" like they are today.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I certainly agree that this would be an improvement.

  • R C Dean||

    If you're making an argument that more teachers do in fact need to be hired, focus on that.

    Be sure to explain why, as class sizes have gotten smaller, results have been flat to down.

  • Restoras||

    Well then, if teachers want more respect then maybe they should demand accountabilty from thier union bureaucrats instead of going along with said bureaucrats when it comes time to fleece the taxpayers with the usual threats of children, education, competitiveness, et. etc. ad nauseum.

  • Randian||

    There you go: Restoras has it.

    It is precisely the rhetoric adopted by the teachers' and their enablers that has suborned this sort of behavior. We cannot question any spending at all because then we'd be "anti child" and "anti teacher".

  • niobiumstudio||

    I agree with Restoras, but I am not taking about the Teacher's Union Bureaucrats. I am talking about school administrators who are not part of their unions - that is something else entirely.

  • Randian||

    Do you think that the Teacher's Unions get their support from thin air?

    I present to you this challenge:

    1. Friend some teachers
    2. Claim you want to cut funding to schools (even for the legit reasons you state)
    3. Have fun when they rip your head off

    I would say about half of my high-school friends who I regularly still interact with became teachers. You can't even want to claim to touch one single dime without a huge fracas.

  • niobiumstudio||

    I have the same thing where half the kids from my HS became teachers. However, they are NEW teachers (getting out of school within the last 4-6 years) and are either not tenured or just getting it - probably the difference between the teachers we know. Almost all of them agree education needs to be cut to a degree and every single one of them hates the amount of administration and red tape there is. One of my best friends is a new teacher (2 years in) and the #1 complain is the bureaucracy. I would get my head ripped off if I talked about cutting funding for teachers though, that is true.

  • niobiumstudio||

    The next generation of teachers (at least who I interact with, and my mom does too - she has been a secretary for 20 years and is very good friends with teachers) understand the difference between "education funding" and "teacher funding". They understand far more goes to administration than teachers and they have no problem cutting some bureaucracy.

  • wareagle||

    randian,
    I suspect your teacher friends are concerned that cuts will effect them long before touching any of the educrats at Admin Central. In principle, they may see the logic of your argument but they don't get to live in principle.

  • T||

    I found a study, some years ago, laying out the administrative differences between the Catholic schools in Baltimore and the Baltimore public schools. Baltimore, IIRC, was chosen because the student populations were similar (~65K). Baltimore public schools had more admin by a couple orders of magnitude.

    Alas, I can't seem to find it again.

  • ||

    Baltimore public schools had more admin by a couple orders of magnitude.

    A "couple of orders of magnitude" means that the Baltimore schools would have approximately 10,000% more administrators. You know, 100X as many.

    I'm guessing that number is wrong. A single order of magnitude -- 10X as many public as compared to private administrators -- seems closer to reality.

  • T||

    Nope. Diocese had less than 100, public was several thousand.

  • KDN||

    There's a pretty simple way to maintain or increase the number and effectiveness of teachers in a given district while also cutting its budget. The local unions flip the fuck out any time it's brought up, however (as do the rank and file; roughly half of my friends and family are teachers, including my fiancee, and they all have the same reaction when the T word is mentioned).

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    "the Great Depression ended largely thanks to a guy named Adolf Hitler"

    See, he's not ALL bad. Pretty brave putting that out there - good on ya, Nick.

  • Libertymike||

    Let us not forget that Scott Walker did not have the brass ones to include the police unions in his reforms.

    Time to step up, Governor.

  • Restoras||

    Cops got the guns. Now, if only the run-of-the-mill, every-day citizen had, I dunno, a right to keep an bear arms that could not be infringed...

  • wareagle||

    and it all filters back to teams: the Reds believe in law and order, the Blues in 'investment'. Christie is a similar non-profile in courage.

    Bullying teachers' unions is a politically-satisfying past-time. Calling out cops seems to be confined to these pages.

  • Libertymike||

    There are more such pages than just HR.

    How about a real hero like Will Grigg?

    Or Professor DiLorenzo?

    Or Eric Peters?

    Or Bill Anderson?

    THe commentariat here is somewhat more tame, notwithstanding the likes of Epi, sarcasmic, sloopy et al.

  • wareagle||

    would be nice to see some of those bad cop stories make their way into the mainstream press. Any time some teacher calls a little darling names, it's news for a week. Cop beating someone to death, not so much. Kudos to those who are shining the light, however.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Let us not forget that Scott Walker did not have the brass ones to include the police unions in his reforms.

    You don't piss off the Praetorian Guard if you want to remain Emperor.

  • R C Dean||

    Incrementalism. He barely got what he did without picking that fight, and he set them up to join their confreres in the schools at a later date.

  • R C Dean||

    Incrementalism. He barely got what he did without picking that fight, and he set them up to join their confreres in the schools at a later date.

  • Lord at War||

    Let us not forget that Scott Walker did not have the brass ones to include the police unions in his reforms.

    Kasich did...

    And the police/firefighters had enough money to get SB5 repealed thru referendum.

    Who was smarter?

  • CE||

    Fire all the public school teachers and administrators and sell the buildings and the land. Let entrepreneurs provide competing solutions for the educational market, directly to parents.

    Fire all the city police forces and administrators and allow businesses, individuals and homeowners' associations to make their own security arrangements with private firms.

    Fire all the firemen and sell their equipment and let insurance companies decide how best to prevent and extinguish fires.

    It would cost a lot less and provide better service in all cases.

  • Randian||

    thanks for your input, Anarchrist.

  • thom||

    "Anarchrist"

    Thanks to this typo, I might have to start a crust-punk band.

  • Libertymike||

    And...while we are at it, reinforce the reality that one is not a hero because one wears a badge and totes a gun issued by the state.

  • Restoras||

    Heresy!

  • sarcasmic||

    Pinkerton!

  • Libertymike||

    Fired me, way back in 82' - for good cause. For sleeping on the job.

  • Killazontherun||

    Gotta an uncle who was fired from them. He did as they wanted but they needed to distance themselves from the politically sensitive work he was involved. Worked out fine. He was was a successful private dick for twenty more years before retiring.

  • Killazontherun||

    One of my big regrets was not taking his offer to teach me the trade, but I was a bit too bookish for it back then.

  • RPR2||

    I say fire them all and let them reapply at reduced affordable rates of pay if they want to. no pressure.

  • ||

    Do we in fact have our staffing levels for teachers, cops, and firemen right?

    You've buried a statist premise in that question, Nick. Try this unpacking of the buried premises:

    Should the government be hiring teachers, cops, and firefighters (not "firemen", there are a handful of female firefighters) at all, instead of having private individuals purchase those services for themselves?

    Should the government steal money via taxation, and threaten to throw any dissenters to this theft into a cage, and then reward political supporters by handing out monopoly pricing via public union wage levels in exchange for union dues that are funneled into campaign contributions, all so that certain politically favored classes of people can get someone else to foot the tab for services that they would like to have, in exchange for voting for statist politicians?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Teachers, fuck no. Cops, maybe, though nowhere near the scale and for the purposes they serve today. Maybe not firemen, either, as that could likely be handled by private means.

  • Randian||

    Education is mandated by almost every state constitution in the country. For good or for ill, some form of public education is the law of the land.

    Do I like it? No. But I am not going to pretend that brain-dead anarchism is going to fix it either.

    "1. Let's just fire everyone and everything, despite the fact there is no political will for it.
    2. ?????
    3. LIBERTOPIA!"

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think government in education is counterproductive, and it would be the easier area for the government to exit. It can still have requirements around education, but if government exited and stopped taxing for education, we could pretty quickly come up with a private alternative.

    I'm pragmatic, but this is one area that isn't necessary, even in a minarchist model.

  • wareagle||

    but govt inserted itself into education at the ground floor, at the state level with the approval of those who elected their representatives. Federal meddling is another matter. I don't believe you will ever find a majority backing the wholesale privatization of schools.

  • Killazontherun||

    Anarchism isn't brain dead, or I wouldn't be one. Minarchism has worked so well that the one nation that enshrined the concept in its constitution has the largest regulatory system in the history of mankind.

    However, I'm willing to meet minarchist half way on the education issue.

    If we agree on banning the wearing of Birkenstocks, granny glasses, and tie-dyed anything by employees in the public school sector, than I'm willing to call it a day.

  • sarcasmic||

    Anarchism isn't brain dead, or I wouldn't be one.

    Anarchism simply will not work.

    If government were to fall, then gangs of thugs would compete with each other over the power to extort money from people in the name of "protection".
    The winner would become government.

    It is unavoidable.

  • Killazontherun||

    Anarchy works only where it is allowed to exist. Yes, that is understood. I don't know why that automatically means I should seize building my personal space of anarchy and strengthening that of my fellow anarchist and instead work towards a social goal I don't believe in like democratically representative republicanism.

  • R C Dean||

    Anarchy works only where it is allowed to exist.

    A social system that relies on the permission of its enemies to exist probably isn't, what's the word?

    Sustainable.

  • Killazontherun||

    Same could be said of democratically representative republicanism through most of human history, or economies that did not rely on slavery.

    You have to be something of a pessimist and a fatalist to believe that their is no ever escape from the lash of government.

  • nipplemancer||

    gangs of thugs would compete with each other over the power to extort money from people in the name of "protection".
    Yes, we call them Republicans and Democrats.
    Explain how anarchy would be different.

  • wareagle||

    if you add flip-flops to the list, I might be able to convince a couple of dead relatives to vote in your support.

  • Libertymike||

    Randhole does not seem to get that monopoly is never a good thing, particularly with regard to the administration of justice.

  • Randian||

    I have no problem with competing systems of justice. I have a problem with competing armies clamoring for enforcement. That's called war.

  • ||

    If fucking Sweden could move to a voucher system, flawed as it is, then why not the US?

  • Randian||

    I don't have a problem with a voucher system. It works within the context of state constitutions just fine.

  • ||

    Yes but aren't we talking about what is practical?

    "For good or for ill, some form of public education is the law of the land."

    And I'm saying that if a socialist wonderland like Sweden can adopt vouchers then surely the US can, we all agree it's a huge improvement.

  • Randian||

    Hey, here's a good idea: let's just present boring, reflexive, unthinking anarchist critiques and pretend that contributes to the conversation.

  • ||

    Hey, here's a good idea: let's just argue that because the statist status quo is enshrined in law, that we can't present arguments that maybe that fucking status quo should be changed, and that maybe non-coercive approaches will work better than marginal tinkering at the edges of a corrupt, inefficient system because some butthurt minarchist is unable to admit that their favored form of government has morphed into something more akin to maxarchism, and addressing that failure would cause them cognitive dissonance.

    Or something.

  • Killazontherun||

    +Fuckin'A

  • T o n y||

    As long as you acknowledge that the for-profit school experiment has resulted in nothing but bloated cost and scandal.

  • The Hammer||

    You are absolutely correct, if by "for-profit school experiment" you mean "Federal government's involvement in student loans."

  • Randian||

    *yawn*

    End government tomorrow, and someone else will take over by force.

    Boring and unworkable criticism is boring and unworkable.

  • ||

    Riiiight ... because arguing that getting somewhat closer to minarchism by privatizing police and fire and teaching jobs is somehow anathema to an alleged minarchist.

    How exactly is changing the ratio of private versus public police, fire, and schoolteacher jobs from about 1 out of 10 to 10 out of 10 "boring and unworkable"?

  • Randian||

    "Let's just fire everyone and everything, despite the fact there is no political will for it."

  • wareagle||

    in between, we actually have some bona fide good ideas that are gaining traction: charter schools, home schooling, growth of private schools albeit many of them being church-based, vouchers within the public system in some locales. Come on, guys; like everything else, there are options beyond prohibition and alcoholism.

  • ||

    Why the hate on anarchists, Randian? Do you honestly believe the services mentioned couldn't be better delivered by a free market?

  • Randian||

    It's just a boring religion, is all. Is "let's fire everyone and everything right now" a substantive or helpful policy prescription?

    All signs point to "no". As for the end-state of anarchism, I mean, I get it and I've heard it a million times, but we have to figure out how to get from here to there, and the answer is not "fire everyone tomorrow and let the market fix it"

  • The Hammer||

    You're right. Tomorrow is Saturday. Fire everyone Monday?

  • The Hammer||

    I have no problem with keeping as many teachers and firefighters on the public payroll as deemed necessary. But we could cut 95% of all public payrolls, at every level of government, without firing a single teacher or firefighter. That's my problem with Obama's continual conflation of "public employees" with "useful public employees." Most of the people I would fire are useless bureaucrats, administrators, anything with "drug" in the title, and Chuck Schumer. Cops, I would put on a 1 strike system, and the payroll bloat would take care of itself. But fuck it, if state and local governments want to keep every single teacher and firefighter they currently have, and even hire more based on population growth in the future, I'm willing to grant them that in compromise.

  • Mike M.||

    When I click on that first graph titled "Cumulative change in payroll employment", it takes me to some web site I've never heard of called "entertainedorganizer.com", and that website in turn links to the same graph at the lefty thinkprogress.org website.

    However, neither the graph at Think Progress, nor the blog entry containing it, contains any reference I can find as to the true source of the graph.

    Unless someone can point me to the true original source of the graph, since it's unsourced I'm going to have to assume that someone more or less fabricated it out of whole cloth and that the data presented in it is simply false.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Police and firemen are precisely not the kinds of public employees we need to hire a lot more of (although we should not be reducing their numbers at this point, either). Teacher staffing varies a lot by locality, so it is impossible to make a nationwide generalization. Some places could use more; some don't need more.

    What we need are laborers who can attend to our rotting infrastructure, and mental-health professionals who can divert the clinically mentally ill people who are clogging up our prisons.

    The ASCE keeps up an annual report on the decay and neglect happening out of sight in our water, energy, transport and waste disposal facilities. If even a fifth of what they report is accurate, there is more than enough work to drive the economy back up to full employment in the short term, if that is the goal government should be pursuing (and if not, then please stop bitching about high unemployment already).

    Our prisons have become retrograde mental hospitals, where the "patients" are held captive and brutalized but not treated. Swapping prisons for state mental hospitals was not a good trade. It's time to restore the provision of mental health care to its proper place in the country's public policy.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "The ASCE keeps up an annual report on the decay and neglect happening out of sight in our water, energy, transport and waste disposal facilities."

    And they have no motive other than to provide objective observations.
    You think they have any interest in EVER reporting infrastructure is adequate?

  • Registration At Last!||

    On the one hand, their reporting must be presumed to have elements of advocacy in it, and on the other hand they are a respected professional organization with a reputation for credibility to uphold.

    I have no reason to think that their reports are a mere tissue of lies, or that the problems they identify are illusory. The reported conditions of roads, bridges -- and much more critically water, flood control and airports -- are easy to verify.

    Certainly, spending more on infrastructure projects is more useful than hiring yet more firemen or narcotics detectives.

  • Nojobforacowboy||

    It is painfully obvious that you have never set foot inside one our modern concentration camps. "mental health professionals" have come to the rescue in our facilities because all criminality is a mental health problem and we need more PhDs to come tell me how to be a convict guard. Now money that would go to officer radios, keys and basic equipment gos to some egghead who tells me how to deal with murderers from the comfort of an air conditioned office while I actually deal with the idiots. Not to mention the neocons giving me more nonviolent drug offenders to babysit. Go somewhere else to cry about MH bullshit, according to you guys every character flaw is an "illness"

  • Registration At Last!||

    [Troll-dar is telling me not to take this as a serious post]

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    What we need are laborers who can attend to our rotting infrastructure, and mental-health professionals who can divert the clinically mentally ill people who are clogging up our prisons.

    We've tried importing workers from the vibrant land of Nuevo Hispania for the former for decades, you mean to tell me we still don't have enough?

    Maybe it's time to acknowledge that trying to send a bunch of sub-literate teenagers to college instead of blue collar work where they belong isn't the best strategy to maintain a sophisticated infrastructure network.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Not sure if you're with me or against me...

  • KDN||

    Maybe it's time to acknowledge that trying to send a bunch of sub-literate teenagers to college instead of blue collar work where they belong isn't the best strategy to maintain a sophisticated infrastructure network.

    This is the biggest problem with the American education system. Why we force everyone to go to single-provider college prep school just baffles me; all it does for the Lincoln Tech crowd is waste teaching resources delay the inevitability of them going to trade school (not to mention the money wasted on their worthless college degrees). Even if we have to have public education in its current form, mandating it past 8th grade is stupid.

    Lowering or eliminating the minimum wage and moving to a voucher system for older students that can also be applied to trade schools and technical certifications would be a huge improvement, imo. If that was in place twenty years ago, the occutards might have something better to do than bitch about how all the teaching jobs are taken.

  • Registration At Last!||

    How many workers at clustered right at the floor of minimum wage? Even McDonalds and 7-11 don't pay minimum wage. Minimum wage is the biggest non-factor in the American employment crisis.

    Hey, you know who doesn't have a minimum wage, KDN? Denmark. Yeah, that's right. The Socialist Road-to-Serfdom kleptocracy of Denmark. Also, Finland. You know, that country that is one click above North Korea according to the Cato Institute crowd. Also Germany, and Sweden, and Norway...

    ...Are you seeing a pattern here? Countries with a robust system of universal social guarantees have no need for half-assed feel-good compromise rules like minimum wage. They can do away with their capital gains taxes, too, or at least index them. They can lower their corporate rates, and they end up having to incarcerate a tiny fraction of their population compared to us. And they don't try to force every student with a pulse into a four-year college.

    This is not coincidental. A sound system of social insurance doesn't inhibit good economic policy; it encourages it. When everybody knows that the minimum baseline is a tenable subsistence, they are not left clamoring for special favors and bailouts. They have the luxury of supporting a core economic policy that makes sense.

  • KDN||

    How many workers at clustered right at the floor of minimum wage?

    As many as are worth it; the ones that are worth less are unemployed and unemployable. I shouldn't even have to explain that, but it seems pretty obvious that you failed basic micro.

    Minimum wage is the biggest non-factor in the American employment crisis.

    The minimum wage statement was specifically directed toward younger workers (seriously, a 13 year old is plenty capable of working a real blue collar job, but he's not going to provide $7.50/hr of value-add so he's not going to be hired), and yes, it's a huge problem for the young and especially young minority sectors of the population. The reason that it should be lowered is not to enhance the living situations and U3 numbers, it's to give people an actual chance to see what awaits them in the future; someone that has entered the workforce at 14 will be better able to handle a job with some real responsibility at 22.

    I also think they'd be more willing to enter business for themselves at a young age having been exposed to the inner workings of an enterprise, but that's just my hope that there's some way to recover all the intangible capital our boomer parents have failed to bequeath to my generation.

  • KDN||

    Hey, you know who doesn't have a minimum wage, KDN? Denmark. Yeah, that's right. The Socialist Road-to-Serfdom kleptocracy of Denmark. Also, Finland. You know, that country that is one click above North Korea according to the Cato Institute crowd. Also Germany, and Sweden, and Norway...

    Uh, all those countries are rated as about as free as us and orders of magnitude above the Norks; all except for Norway which is weighed down by the nationalized North Sea oil fields used to pay for its pensioners and a highly rigid labor market. Try some facts next time.

    When everybody knows that the minimum baseline is a tenable subsistence, they are not left clamoring for special favors and bailouts. They have the luxury of supporting a core economic policy that makes sense.

    This ignores the effect social insurance has on inflation, but, at a high level, I agree. I also think that some form of social insurance is inevitiable, it should be constructed in as free a way as possible (i.e. a bare minimum income that get reduced semiproportional to earnings instead of a bunch of stupid redistributive programs). And I do believe that most of us around here would accept an increased safety net if 90% of Federal regulations on business were removed.

  • Registration At Last!||

    You, me and Charles Murray, three happy astronauts orbiting around Planet Whenhellfreezesover.

  • R C Dean||

    If even a fifth of what they report is accurate, there is more than enough work to drive the economy back up to full employment in the short term,

    Of course, there is the problem of affording all that deferred maintenance, what with gargantuan entitlement programs and bloated pubsec payrolls crowding the trough.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Well, yes.

  • The Craig||

    Paul Krugman says if we would just start fires, then we could get back to prosperity.

  • Libertymike||

    All Hail King James!

    Long live Lebron!

  • wareagle||

    man had a hell of a playoffs, didn't he.

  • Libertymike||

    Try getting the average new englander to acknowledge that. You wouldn't believe the Lebron hate here.

    He took less money to go to the Heat.

    He did so to better his chances of winning a championship.

    He is one of the most unselfish basketball players I have ever seen. He makes everybody around him better. See Mike Miller and Shane Battier.

    He is a money, clutch player.

    Plus, he got to dictate, to a large extent, where and with whom he would associate in his quest for a title. Most players have those things dictated to them by the oligarchs.

  • wareagle||

    some folks gotta hate, plus he turned it up the last couple games vs the Celtics. I'm not a huge NBA fan, never watch the regular season, but do like playoff ball and appreciate high-level talent.

    If you are open, best have your hands up in a catching position; otherwise, he'll hit you in the head. Good grief, I thought Battier had retired; instead, he gets some jewelry.

  • KDN||

    Celtics fans are pissed because they got hosed by then NBA's incompetent officials biting on every flop (Wade, Bosh, and James tumble like Ronaldo whenever someone breathes on them; it got so bad that Durant was completely afraid to do anything without the ball by the time Game 4 rolled around). The Heat had a great run, but they got the benefit of a couple of huge breaks and they're still very unlikable.

    FWIW, I still think the Spurs would have annihilated them.

  • nipplemancer||

    Firefighters shouldn't really be lumped in with the rest of the tax-leeches, more than 70% of them are volunteers as opposed to 100% paid police and teachers.
    In those places where they pay their firefighters, well, you're getting ripped off because there are plenty of people stupid/crazy/brave enough to do it for free.

  • thom||

    Paid firefighters usually have to double as paramedics and do other first-responder work.

  • nipplemancer||

    I fail to see your point because the same is true for volunteers.

  • T o n y||

    Merkel's embracing stimulus. Guess she hasn't got the message that cuts just haven't been deep enough to reach the magic level at which math becomes irrelevant. The very chart reproduced here shows that the private sector is growing on its own while public sector layoffs are what are depressing employment stats. For the sake of honesty I recommend a few things:

    You don't get to count the public sector when you're bitching about the employment rate in order to trash politicians, since those jobs don't matter.

    Only disinterested economists should be listened to when defending austerity policies, if you can find any. Because when it just so happens that a strategy of addressing a weak economy, based on a refusal to address basic demand math, aligns with your utopian policy goals, why should you be trusted?

    The weak economy is the only problem that needs addressing at this point. When we're not in a crisis we can have a calm democratic debate about how many teachers and firefighters and how much of a public sector we need. Forcing your policy goals on an unwilling public during a time of crisis, using that crisis as an excuse, is a nifty strategy but it's kind of evil.

  • GW||

    "Forcing your policy goals on an unwilling public during a time of crisis, using that crisis as an excuse, is a nifty strategy but it's kind of evil."

    But not when the Democrats do it, right?

    Team America, Fuck Yeah!

  • T o n y||

    Democrats are trying to salvage what remains of the social safety net in the face of the Paul Ryans of the world trying to decimate it, using the fiscal situation as the excuse. So what are you talking about?

  • wareagle||

    that you equate Ryan's plan with "decimation" is just a credibility killer.

  • The Hammer||

    You just repeat the same shit over and over, and it all boils down to "everything's ok when my team does it, because fuck you."

  • T o n y||

    My team is acting like Republicans of 10 years ago. I'm hardly jubilant about them.

    My "team" is simply anti-Republican and anti-rightwing. They are dangerous and they will destroy the country if they are given the chance, and that is pretty much certain. That's the only team I care about.

  • Mike M.||

    When we're not in a crisis we can have a calm democratic debate about how many teachers and firefighters and how much of a public sector we need.

    Oh yeah, that'll be the day when that actually happens, Krugnuts.

  • GW||

    "Unlike Obama, Bush also inherited a surplus from which to at least pay for some of that spending. "

    Oh gawd.....this myth just will not go away.

  • ||

    in brief, reason presents national data in the aggregate, when the FACTS are that it varies widely.

    iow, in some jurisdictions, we have (frankly) more than enough cops and firefighters. in other jurisdictions, not nearly enough

    national averages don't say anything about gross disparities on the local level.

    WA state, for instance, has amongst the lowest cops per capita of any state. some agencies, like oakland PD literally do not even respond to a host of serious crimes, to include felonies, because their staffing levels are so low relative to their crime rate.

    you can't look at the data in aggregate and ignore substantial local differences.

    some communities are substantially understaffed. others have, frankly, a glut

  • R C Dean||

    dunphy, I think the problem of "understaffed" police departments identified by their inability/failure to respond to felonies begs a couple of questions:

    (1) How much administrative bloat do they have?

    (2) How much energy do they expend on victimless crimes, in particular, of course, the WOD?

  • Harvard||

    [in some jurisdictions, we have (frankly) more than enough cops and firefighters. in other jurisdictions, not nearly enough]

    I honestly cannot bring to mind a single public unit of governence that is under policed.
    I also cannot bring to mind one whose police are adequately schooled or under militarized. Strip off the bloused trousers, camo vests, jump boots, largely disarm, eliminate the tacticle units, weed out the psycho egoists and become a cadre of Constitutionally schooled report takers and a myriad of issues are solved.

  • shamalam||

    End the drug war. There goes the need for about half of all law enforcement, prison guards, and judicial staff.

  • FAILtastic||

    "As Keith Hennessey notes, outside of the Postal Service (which has long been shrinking),Obama has added 1420,000 workers to the federal payroll."

    You make a good argument for less teachers and then you undermine it with this.

  • muirgeo||

    Well we ARE not hiring more we ARE firing them as he would recommend yet he admits this is the worst recovery apparently because we bailed out the banks who are apparently NOT investing because of the uncertainty we created by bailing them out. What a convoluted logically and factually inconsistent essay of BS. He also shows how glaringly he does not understand Keynesian stimulus by comparing Bush's spending during low employment and high private investment with Obama's plan to spend when employment is high and and private investment low. I am so sick of this crap passing off as something based on clear reasoning and not intellectual dishonesty, ideology and pure lazy thinking. Every other recession we got out of quicker than this we hired more public workers. This is the first since the Great Depression where we actually cut the number of government jobs. The facts are completely opposite his proselytizing.

  • ||

    Do we in fact have our staffing levels http://www.lunettesporto.com/l.....-3_22.html for teachers, cops, and firemen right? Could we get by with fewer of these sorts of employees or do we need yet more, to make up for the supposedly draconian cuts that have descended upon schoolhouses, police departments, and firehouses like Herod's minions murdering innocents?

  • ||

    What IS the best way to get the economy going?

  • newlibertarian||

    Theez artikles our two long and hard too reed.

  • aamark||

    I think Gov. Romney understands it just fine. Unfortunately, he like the current president is only too willing to say whatever he feels he needs to to get elected. Thats what makes his lesser of two evils candidacy so depressing. The difference is Obama doesn't care whether the economy improves as long as he gets to stay in the White House. I think his objective all along has been to knock us down a few pegs relative to the rest of the world. His difficulty is driving a stake through the heart of the American economy AND getting re-elected. And Paul Krugman is an idiot.

  • P Aaron||

    The statistics quoted by Mr Gillespie show that the main increase in the numbers of public employees he mentions has been among the teachers. One then has to ask why this has occurred, because the answer to this will inevitably inform the question of how it can be reversed.

    I would venture that the main reason for this increase has been that schools are being asked to do a lot of things they weren't being asked to do in 1978. For example, back in those days, conditions like attention deficit disorder and dyslexia, which affect a huge number of children and require schools to hire many extra staff, were scarcely recognized to exist. Reducing staffing to 1978 levels would not be so much a matter of circumventing union machinations or firing bad teachers as conservatives like to pretend, but of going back to 1978 levels of educational provision. Such changes in the levels of service expected of 'the government' by the public is the major reason why there are so many more public employees then there used to be. It's also difficult to replace these types of jobs, which require an actual (and often highly trained and therefore expensive) person, rather than a bit of software. I'm guessing that the police are also being required by the legal system to do a lot more paperwork these days than they were back then. So, it will not be easy to cut these types of jobs, and I would wager that once people realize what it will entail, it will not happen to any great extent.

  • RonRonDoRon||

    One thing not pointed out enough in this debate is the growth in public sector before the recent shrinkage:

    http://www.cato-at-liberty.org.....mployment/

    4.7 million state and local employees added from 1990 to 2010. That's an overall 31.3% increase (state, 23.8%; local,34.3%).

    Just eyeballing the first graph in this article, it looks like the beginning of 2010 is close to being the 0% line, so the percentage stats given for the full period of the graph should be pretty close to the stats for 2010 on.

    So, roughly speaking, increases of 24% and 34% from 1990 to 2010; decreases since 2010 of 1.3% and 2.8%. We're supposed to believe that the recent slight trimming is catastrophic?

  • joy||

    Before we look at teachers, cops, and firemen in turn, consider the overall plight of working America. Here's a chart of private- and public-sector job losses since January 2009

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