Economics

Another Way of Looking at the Stimulus's Impact on Public vs. Private Employment

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Like some kind of chart-manufacturing econo-robot, Veronique de Rugy is back again with another look at stimulus and employment over at Big Government. The red line shows the trend of public-sector employment, the blue line is private (with different numerical baselines).

And when I'm sad…I slide!

De Rugy explains:

[D]uring the last two year the number of public employees has increased from 22.3 million in January 2008 to 22.4 million in January 2010, after peaking at 22.6 million in July 2009.  Not that impressive you will say. Well, excuse me but it certainly beats being a private employee during that same period of time. The number of private jobs decreased from 115.5 million in January 2008 to 107 million. That a lose of 8.7 million jobs in the private sector while the public sector gained almost 100,000 jobs. […]

Now, let's me ask this question again: who are the big losers in this recession and who has ultimately benefited from the big government intervention in our economy?

NEXT: Steven Hayne: Still Testifying. Still Collecting Checks.

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  1. Now, let’s me ask this question again: who are the big losers in this recession and who has ultimately benefited from the big government intervention in our economy?

    But consider all those teachers, firemen and policemen whose jobs we saved!

    OM’s Law of Political Discourse:

    Every time you argue in favor of cutting spending, Statists will invariably retort with:

    + You want to leave kids without schools [Teachers]!
    + You want crime to increase! [Supposedly because one wants to fire all police officers]
    + You want to starve children!
    + You are racist! [Because of the utterly racist assumption from the left that all minorities are poor and on welfare]
    + You want the poor to suffer/You want the budget balanced on the backs of the poor!
    + You want to leave the elderly homeless and sick!

    I sometimes counter these by saying: “No, I don’t want any of that! I just want to leave the 22.4 million bureaucrats in the streets, destitute, hungry and homeless.”

    1. “No, I don’t want any of that! I just want to leave the 22.4 million bureaucrats in the streets, destitute, hungry and homeless…along with the children, the poor,the elderly and the homeless. FIFY

      1. Hey, True Colors, if I said “I don’t want any of that!” which was listed above, then you fixed jack shit.

        Fuck You!

        1. “Profanity is the weapon of the witless”

          1. As opposed to constructing strawmen…

          2. “Profanity is the weapon of the witless”

            Explains John Stewart . . .

            1. Interesting reply

              1. but the author is unknown

          3. “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

            And what, pray tell, is a better response to your asinine comment than “Fuck you”? Are there any words in the English language that better and more succinctly express the utter contempt in which your betters hold you than “Fuck you”?

            Hell fuck no, there aren’t.

            1. “…in which your betters hold you…there aren’t”. Defeat is my teacher and time and patience is my satisfaction.

              1. Thank your teacher.

                1. I took a philosophy course at my community college and I like to whack it to Chicken Soup for the Soul.

                  1. feelings. I am so upset that I am going to make a dick joke.

              2. Are you trying to point out a non-existent grammatical error? Or are you just stoned out of your gourd? (And this early in the morning?!)

                1. grylliade, betters. You sweet little boy. Understand the significance of a word before you use it.

                  1. My mom says I’m the most special. I put a carrot up my butt.

                    1. I said Specula. How else are we going to find that carrot?

    2. However, if you cut spending on welfare programs, poor people do suffer. If you cut funding to schools, the quality of those schools does drop.

      A pure libertarian country would have extreme differences between rich and poor, because rich people wouldn’t be taxed and have that money given (in one form or another) to poor people, as the current situation. This is simply a fact. Now, it’s also more “free”. But that “freedom” comes at a high price.

      1. “If you cut funding to schools, the quality of those schools does drop.”

      2. [citation needed]

        1. Ok, lets reverse that. Prove me wrong. If there was no check on private greed, how would difference between poor and rich people be less than if there was one (like now)?

          1. Sorry, but if you make the claim you need to prove it. Show us that education improves as spending per pupil increases. Or any other benchmark that involves “throwing more money at it.”

            1. I daresay a wealthier society–one that invests and spends money in the marketplace–is better for the poor than the government sucking up the cash from the productive and giving a small percentage of it to some people in need.

              It’s not like we have no history of charity in this country without the government.

            2. Can’t we simply use common sense here? Now, there might be diminishing returns at some point, but spending more money on anything tends to get you better quality whatever it is. Schools or cars or food or houses or whatever.

              Likewise, the quality of anything drops as you spend less money on something.

              Now, there might be other problems with public education. But those problems can not be solved merely by spending less money on it. If so, we should spend absolutely no money on education and all our kids will be Einstein!

              1. I’m gonna just say it–public schools are far worse now than they were decades ago. God knows how many billions of dollars later.

                I don’t get this desire to ignore the government’s ineptitude, corruption, and waste in most things it touches. Education, healthcare, manned spaceflight, etc.–all done poorly and insanely expensively. All either controlled or heavily regulated by government.

                1. That’s largely due to losing the sexism subsidy. Decades ago the smartest, most talented women that wanted to work could primarily go into (a) teaching (b) nursing (c) secretarial work. Now the same caliber of women can go into better paying jobs and become doctors, lawyers, businesswomen, professors, etc. Problem is, the teaching jobs still exist, but you’re not getting talent from a pool that’s as deep.

                  1. I don’t buy that. I think one major problem has been the attempt to standardize education, which has removed a level of flexibility that may be necessary in K-12 education. There is also a clear problem with kids not being pushed to achieve. I see that in how my own kids are treated in school. It’s pathetic that we can’t educate our children with layers of expensive government bureaucracy clogging up the works.

                    1. Pro l, the public school concentrates on graduating the student and the private school focuses on achievement and college preparation.

                    2. Schools are like (non-Nazi, to avoid dire implications) concentration camps–take ’em in, process them, move ’em out.

              2. Now, there might be diminishing returns at some point

                Yes, in 1970.

                1. Maybe there has been other issues since then that have changed things. Maybe there are more non-English speakers. Maybe teachers’ unions have gotten stronger. Maybe something else.

                  Many of you have kids in public schools. Now, imagine with no other changes, if spending was cut in half. Would the school be better or worse?

                  1. Depends on the location of the cut. Let’s say we remove “learning improvement days,” which I never saw once the whole time I was in school. My daughter sees about two a month. I fail to see how “learning improves” when the kids are not in school.

                    1. Good! Leaving funding the same, but cut the “learning improvement days”.

                      My point is that people see something stupid in a school (or any other government agency-or even a division of a company), and then think cutting its budget (without doing anything else) will solve the problem. It won’t, of course-the problem will most likely get worse.

                    2. Yes, just think of the barbarianism that awaits us for cutting federal spending in half, back to 2001 levels!

                      Those were good days. I was warlord of my tribe.

              3. but spending more money on anything tends to get you better quality whatever it is.

                Then we should have the best government evah!

              4. The government does not spend money nearly as efficiently as the private sector, even when accounting for profits in the private sector.

                The reason for this is because the public sector funnels money through bureaucrats and is accountable to a small number of voters paying attention where the private sector is directly accountable to it’s customers.

                So yeah, more money does = better eduction, but the private sector can do a far better job of educating children with far less money.

                http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..02921.html

                1. I was just thinking, if we cut spending to education, what exactly are we cutting? How much money goes to bureaucrats and boondoggles? I’ve seen some absolutely insane expenditures in my local school system.

                  1. I have to believe that it’s pensions and benefits are dramatically raising costs.

                    It’s funny how the cuts are always to kids or our safety – what about not having public employees retiring at 90% of their last year pay or having to pay part of their health insurance?

              5. Now, there might be diminishing returns at some point, but spending more money on anything tends to get you better quality whatever it is.

                You are so right, a Rolex tells much better time than a Casio. Your premise has no merit without competition and a profit motive.

          2. The difference between rich and poor is a meaningless statistic for envious assholes who think wealth is zero-sum. A society in which government isn’t destroying huge swathes of wealth would be much more prosperous overall.

            1. And also for people who think that “something must be done” about wealth disparity.

            2. Precisely.

            3. Probably true. But I personally think it would be something like this:

              Imagine a universe with a strong government. There are ten people in it. Eight have two dollars worth of stuff, one has five dollars worth of stuff, and one has ten dollars worth of stuff. Total of $31 worth of stuff.

              In a universe with no government, eight guys would have one dollar worth of stuff, one guy would have five dollars worth of stuff, and one guy would have fifty dollars worth of stuff. Total of $63 worth of stuff.

              So, the amount of stuff more than doubled, but 80% of the people are worse off.

              Of course, this is just a thought experiment, since there has never been a “libertarian country”, nor an identical country with a traditional government to compare to.

              1. “Wait, imagine you’re an elf, and I’m a griffin and the reindeer are peg-legged pirates and there’s a shortage of run…”

                1. ruM, goddamnit, rum

              2. More accurate fable:

                You have two islands with 10 people each, and none of them have jack shit.

                Period.

                Wealth is not created by stealing from some to give it to others. It is created by producing. Read:

                http://freedom-school.com/money/how-an-economy-grows.pdf

          3. 1925 called. They’re missing one of their socialists.

          4. I’ve been waiting to state this.

            Define greed.

            … Hobbit

      3. Right; because the doubling of the education budget and the huge run up in spending per student over the last 2 decades or so has made us the zenith of education in the world.

        Right?

      4. Education success is not correlated with funding in the slightest.

        1. All things being equal, the two would correlate significantly.

          The problem is the things that aren’t equal.

          Unless you are arguing that merely cutting funding would improve schools, which is an amusing argument.

          1. No, what has been said is that we could cut school spending in half and get no appreciable reduction in results.

      5. Except, and this is not that difficult, you could take the approach that Dr. Paul advocates, which is to draw back our trillion dollar/year world empire and use that money to wean those who have become dependent on government off of it over time and do not add more to entitlement programs. The economy recovers from the enervating effect of government social engineering and becomes flush with opportunity and those who need opportunity find it.

        Elimination of the income tax infuses the private economy with wealth, small business flourishes producing more wealth and more opportunity. Each of us is wealthier and feels even more inclined to help the less fortunate who truly can not help themselves – and most Americans are tremendously generous in terms of charitable giving even with the government at all levels siphoning half of their incomes.

        The only people who lose out are the bureaucrats who spend their lives gorging at the public trough. If one truly cares about his fellow man, one sees that the best thing we can do for each other is half a flourishing, real economy which offers the opportunity for all to participate and prosper. A culture of dependency offers nothing except more dependency and ultimately no security for those who are dependent.

        1. “…have a flourishing, real economy…” not “…half a flourishing…”

        2. I’m totally for eliminating our “world empire”.

          Look, my dream budget would have a lot less government spending. I would legalize a lot of things (drugs, etc.), eliminating a lot of prisons/cops/courts/lawyers/etc. I would also shrink the armed forces significantly, say by half. That’s probably cut the overall size of government by 30% or so on those two things alone.

      6. Re: Geotpf,

        However, if you cut spending on welfare programs, poor people do suffer.

        . . . because it is a fact that all poor people receive welfare. Right?

        If you cut funding to schools, the quality of those schools does drop.

        No, it doesn’t – there will simply not be any of those veritable prisons for children you call with a morbid sense of humor “Schools.”

        A pure libertarian country would have extreme differences between rich and poor, because rich people wouldn’t be taxed and have that money given (in one form or another) to poor people, as the current situation.

        As if there were no noticeable differences in Communist countries where the political class could eat Caviar while the poor had to do with bupkis.

        This is simply a fact.

        How can it be a fact when there is no current example you can point to?

        Now, it’s also more “free”. But that “freedom” comes at a high price.

        . . . whereas slavery is cheap.

      7. A pure libertarian country would have extreme differences between rich and poor, because rich people wouldn’t be taxed and have that money given (in one form or another) to poor people, as the current situation.

        It’s possible that the rich would get richer in libertopia. But the poor would too. That’s the whole point. Equality comes at a price, and that price is the welfare of the poorest among us.

        For the sake of argument, let’s say that the poorest in American make $10,000 a year, and the richest $1,000,000. (Yeah, those numbers aren’t even close to reality.) Under libertopia, the rich might make, say, $5,000,000 a year. But if the poor are making $20,000 a year, I feel it’s a good trade off to make.

    3. But consider all those teachers, firemen and policemen whose jobs we saved!

      Can you stop it with the Village People?

  2. The scale on that graph is misleading.

    1. No, it is not. The scales are represented on each side. It is CLEAR the red curve has an upward slope whereas the blue curve has a downward slope. Why is this misleading?

    2. Warning: the number of public employees is on the right hand-side of the chart and the private employees are on the left.

      Warning 2: This chart is not claiming that public employment was ever higher than private employment.

      From the link.

      1. There you go clicking on links. Where do you think you are, bizarro-Reason?

  3. This is a logical outcome of a recession. If private industry won’t hire people, government should (IMHO) step in to help. I’m sure most of you disagree.

    1. I CAN HAS JOB?

      1. Ya gotsa axe Massiah real nice.

    2. I really don’t want the job. Can I just have the money instead?

    3. Good thing those gummint jobs pay in unicorn farts and rainbows. If we had to pay these make-work jobs real money, we’d be in deep shit PDQ.

    4. “[F]or they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.”

    5. Re: Geotpf,

      This is a logical outcome of a recession. If private industry won’t hire people, government should (IMHO) step in to help.

      It worked during the previous Great Depression – in keeping unemployment high.

      I’m sure most of you disagree.

      Most of us, History and Sound Economics.

    6. Totally. It’s well worth butchering 8.7 million jobs to hire 100,000.

      1. This is the insane flaw in their plan. The flaw for the rest of us, of course, not for the 100,000.

  4. The misleading thing about the chart is that the public employee side has a range of less than 2%, while the private employee side range is ~14.5%.

    This greatly exaggerates the variability on the public side… who put this together, some left-wing hack?

    The numbers show public employment basically flat, and private employment significantly down.

    1. I’m sure if you broke it down Federal/non-Federal, the Feds are up (since they can run deficits), while state and local agencies are down (since tax revenues are down and they can’t run deficits).

      One of the reasons the stimulus was (in this liberal’s opinion) too small. For it to really be effective, it needed to be bigger. I would have liked to see a lot more infrastructure spending. (That’s the type of thing I think is great during a reccession-extra spending on long lasting infrastructure (roads and briges and water supplies and ports and railroads).)

      1. That’s the type of thing I think is great during a reccession-extra spending[…]

        You’re a fucking retard.

    2. Re: Joe_D,

      This greatly exaggerates the variability on the public side.

      As if it mattered . . .

  5. you should have made it to the same % scale from peak employment, much more drastic

  6. Why not just put both the red line and the blue line on the same scale? What a stupid fucking graph.

    1. But then what else can you expect from a chart-manufacturing econo-robot? Hope you filled out the warranty card…

      1. As if it mattered. The fact is that here is the mother of all recessions and yet Gunvermint has shed only 1% of the jobs it had at the very peak, whereas private industry is undergoing a correction that amounts to 7.4% of PRODUCTIVE job losses. And you complain about the Goddamned graph . . .

        1. What else am I supposed to do with my time?

  7. How does this compare to previous recessions? Are government jobs unusually sticky? A proper comparison would be to look at the last recession with a jobless recovery and compare the charts. If they look the same it says more about the nature of public sector jobs rather than the stimulus.

    1. Are government jobs unusually sticky?

      No, just criminal – they are tax-feeders after all.

  8. Scale mismatch makes increase much more dramatic, but misleading okay if agree w/ ideologically predetermined conclusion. Reason!

  9. The usual convention when graphing two trends on one chart is:

    (1) You put one scale on each side of the chart (as this one does). I will quibble with the right hand scale having reference lines at every 50K jobs, while the left hand scale has reference lines at every 100K jobs. That, I think is misleading (makes the government job increase look bigger).

    (2) You start each trend line at the same point. For some reason, this one starts them at different points. This works the other way (it makes the relative growth of government jobs look smaller).

    1. I think the simple and conventional way would be to make it %change from the same starting point.

      And I know it doesn’t matter.

  10. Veronique – please fix your graph so both lines are on the same scale (i.e. 2MM jobs/tick). The way you laid it out is pretty poor. Best would be to have both start at a common point, with the .gov line being essentially flat.

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