50 Responses

  1. Republicans are really good at suckering Democrats into doing their dirty work for them. Democrats’ pride in getting things done makes them vulnerable to being tricked. It’s an old story. Aesop’s fable of the “Fox and the Crow.”

    1. @Monica Smith,

      The Democrats’ idea of “getting things done” is doling out goodies to favored constituencies like corporate donors, unions and people who don’t work. Inevitably, the blowback from this is higher unemployment. Republicans are guilty of this too, but Democrats seem to be much better at using government to reward their supporters than Republicans, perhaps because there is a natural synergy with their belief in bigger government.

      1. @ESM, Goodies or bribes versus threats seems to be the choice when people are to be “persuaded” to do, rather than stopped. Threats are cheaper, but I prefer bribes, if only because the quality of the performance is likely to be higher.
        The problem, as I see it, is that the agents of government we hire (bribe) to work have somehow gotten the idea that their job is to coerce the populace, rather than serve as honest stewards of our resources and assets. Of course, the dishonest steward has been a familiar figure ever since he was described in a parable in the Bible. The proper response to a dishonest steward is still the same. He needs to be fired, even if that doesn’t preclude a dishonest distribution of our assets on the way out.
        I suppose it’s telling that the parable of the dishonest steward is described as difficult to understand because the steward seems to be praised for stealing from his master one last time. Some people just don’t get irony.

      2. @Monica Smith, not talking about curb cut, which have utility. i am talking about gold plate slate walls with wooden lattice and beam. 20 feet in middle only, look ridiculous.

        but since all paid with union hands, is good!

        you are saying brain damaged children would do better with democrats if they unionized. you are probably right

    2. @Monica Smith, ESM is right.

      If Government spending went to the people, isntead of well connected crony, then people would support more fiscal stimilus.

      instead they see (just as I do) ridiculously extravagent street corners while disable children get their benefit cut (welcome to california!)

      Difference? Street corner maker are union and their vote coutns

      1. @WARREN MOSLER, what you say is true.

        however, i think there would be less resistance to bigger deficit because of tax cut that go to you vs. bigger deficit to enrich people you hate

      2. @zanon, “Appearances are deceiving” and people who rely on their superficial optics often don’t see right.
        Street corners with “curb-cuts” are permanent reminders of people working with their hands to lay brick and pour concrete and smooth it with trowels. Also, as it turns out, the “curb cuts” are a convenience to people (young and old) in wheel chairs, people pushing strollers or shopping carts and people who don’t see too good.
        Money paid out to parents whose children are physically or mentally handicapped is intended to compensate non-family persons that are hired to provide physical care and training which the family is, presumably, not equipped to provide. In other words, the stipend for handicapped children actually goes to service providers, just as Medicaid payments go to doctors and nurses and medicine makers.
        It’s important to be clear about who’s actually doing what, if we want to know what’s going on. Short hand is good, but not when it ascribes agency to the recipient, rather than the entity that acts.
        Written words are like money in that they enable ideas (values) to be preserved and spread around to be used by more than the immediate recipient. So, my answers in this forum can be shared, if anybody wants to.

      1. @ESM,


        “ok, that would be 15% of the labor force? And govt is spending about 25% of gdp currently?”

        LOL. Keep digging Warren…

  2. It is my understanding that the reductions all occurred at the state and local level. In an article on the public sector job losses, ABC News reports “federal government , not counting the postal service, has grown by 143,000 employees during Obama’s tenure.”

    1. @Jon, That suggests that Dem policy occupied the White House, while GOP policy ruled the state & local levels.

      It ain’t over ’til the ex Fat Person is too weak to sing, and dies of malnutrition?

  3. Examiner.com did an analysis and found that “It turns out that every state with a Republican governor has seen a decrease in unemployment since January 2011. The drop in the unemployment rate in newly Republican-led states averaged at 1.35 percent, and since the national average of decline was 0.9 percent, “it can be said that the job market in states with new Republican governors is improving a full 50 percent faster than the job market nationally.”

    The states with the highest drops in unemployment were Michigan at 2.4 percent, Florida at 2.3 percent, and Nevada at 2.2 percent.”

    My novice impression of this is that some methods of treating symptoms might work better then others. Of course the disease still needs to be dealt with and that can only be done by the issuer of the currency.

    1. @Jon,

      What happened with the participation rate? UE can decrease because more people have given up looking for work and marked as out of the job market instead of involuntarily unemployed. What was the quality of the jobs created and how much were due to underemployment? Without deconstructing the figures, U3 figures are inconclusive.

      1. This has to be total government employees including state and local. Otherwise there is no way you get to 22M total.

      2. @WARREN MOSLER, I think in WWII we were over 12M. 2.8 Million is about right for the U.S. Military right now if you include civilian employees and that is probably up a bit from 2008.

        We have replaced people with robots and other technology.

      3. @WARREN MOSLER,

        I believe Ken’s is Civilian population only from the Establishment Survey.
        For all those not close to the military out there — you’re still a civilian if you work for the gov, but aren’t in the military.

        Though you may also prefer (I certainly do!):
        Same as what Ken had but without Postal workers.

        I think we’d prefer to look at this, since the utter failure of the USPS is not particularly controversial, nor should it’s failure somehow count towards “reduction of big government”. At least they were trying to do something useful.

        For more explanations of establishment survey data (and classification names) see:
        Nota bene:
        The data exclude proprietors, the unincorporated self-employed, unpaid volunteer or family employees, farm employees, and domestic employees. Salaried officers of corporations are included. Government employment covers only civilian employees; military personnel are excluded. Employees of the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency also are excluded.

      4. @Tom Hickey, Ok I did this quick so hopefully not too many errors. Looking at the referenced 17 states and comparing job participation rates in Jan 2011 and May 2012:

        Alabama 59.2 to 57.2 Change -2.0
        Florida 60.9 to 60.1 Change -0.8
        Georgia 64.2 to 63.9 Change -0.3
        Iowa 70.4 to 69.4 Change -1.0
        Kansas 69.7 to 68.8 Change -0.9
        Maine 65.2 to 65.4 Change 0.2
        Michigan 60.5 to 59.9 Change -0.6
        Nevada 66.5 to 64.7 Change -1.8
        New Mexico 59.0 to 58.5 Change -0.5
        Ohio 64.8 to 64.3 Change -0.5
        Oklahoma 61.8 to 61.9 Change 0.1
        Pennsylvania 63.4 to 63.4 Change 0
        South Carolina 59.8 to 59.1 Change -0.7
        South Dakota 71.7 to 70.8 Change -0.9
        Tennessee 63.0 to 61.9 Change -1.1

        Comparing again these two points in time and looking at all states and DC there was an average decrease of .524 and median decrease of .5. Alabama had the biggest decrease of 2% and Nebraska had the biggest improvement of .5%.

        Overall 11 states had a higher participation rate in May 2012 than Jan 2011, two had the same rate, and 38 decreased including DC.

        Hope this helps.

      5. I don’t think the numbers include uniformed military in either case. Just civilian federal employees.

    2. @Jon, I should have been more precise in my language. The DoD employs somewhere around 3M people. Of those around 700K are civilians. The rest are Active duty military of around 1.4M and Reserves of around another 1M. I may be off 100k or more on each of these as it is hard to find current accurate numbers. These are what DOD reported in Dec 2011.

  4. funny.. here in Italy people think that Bush was Liberist Righ Party while Obama is Labour Left Party.. but looking at your graph Bush was more Statilist then Obama 🙂

  5. So how about a fresh post with the correct interpretation of the data?

    This topic has been visited several times on this site, and IIRC each time the data has included state and local workers. Really different story emerges when you look at the right series.
    Even I was mildly surprised.

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