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Unintended Consequences

When Republicans say that we need to shrink the size of government, that sounds pretty good on paper, but they fail to mention that shrinking the government means that the government will employ fewer people.

In fact, the Wall Street Journal calculated that if government were the same size it was back in December 2008 (before Obama took office), then unemployment would be 7.1% (instead of the official 8.1% — a full percentage point lower).

What’s ironic about this is that of course now Mitt Romney is complaining that Obama is not creating enough jobs, and that the unemployment rate is too high.



  1. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    That’s unpossible because “government can’t create jobs.”

    In my state the small gov’t majority just voted to vastly expand the abilities of our government in order to attempt to punish anyone not in a one-man-one-woman marriage.

    Ignorance is strength, IK.

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 4:59 am | Permalink
  2. ThatGuy wrote:

    In an extremely depressing conversation with my girlfriend, we discussed just how difficult it is to break into government jobs right now. We’ve both studied foreign policy and international relations with the idea of putting it toward federal service, but because of the irresponsibility in the private sector, those of us looking toward the public are on hold. Many of my more business-minded friends aren’t finding it too difficult to get jobs as they graduate. I “joke” that it’s a bit ironic how easily the future economic havoc bringers are finding work while diplomacy and public services (more or less from the top down) suffer. Not to absolve government of fault in the meltdown, but with graduation looming I reserve my right to whine.

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 5:03 am | Permalink
  3. Jeff wrote:

    Reducing the size of government is part of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Cutting government makes it less effective, which Republicans use as evidence that government doesn’t work and as fuel to further cut government. I find it hilarious that members of Congress will decry the government for not creating jobs. Aren’t they paid well for serving?

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink
  4. westomoon wrote:

    And we are amazed by this? The goal Rs have been pursuing with equal fervor to Doing God’s Work is Making Obama Look Bad, primarily thru economic indicators. I’d be very surprised if the artificial jump in unemployment were a coincidence.

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink
  5. Michael wrote:

    It’s kind of funny how many people are completely ignorant of what constitutes “government.” I’m a professor at a state university. That makes me part of what counts as “government.”

    Part of being a state employee means that our pay is subject to the whims of pandering jerks. Our faculty have not received raises since 2005. To compensate for that, the state legislature voted to gives us a 3% bonus in Dec. 2012 contingent on revenues being adequate. In the past couple of days, our lovely governor decided to change the rules. He’s pushing for the legislature to vote to tie the bonus to expenditure cutting, rather than adequate revenue. Here’s the kicker: Fiscal year ends June 30, and the cuts he’s demanding are completely unrealistic to make in 45 days. So, really, the jerk is trying to eliminate our bonuses, but trying to do so in a way that allows him to blame our “profligate” administration (our costs, including faculty salaries, are actually below average).

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink
  6. Jeff wrote:

    @ Michael, I hear you when it comes to state employment. I am also a state employee, though in a different field. I’m lucky to be in a state that has not seen too much austerity, but there have been no raises, low bonuses, and harmful cuts for years. Things are starting to get better, but there have been a few groups of people calling for further cuts. What concerns me is that state government in particular does work that no other organization (public or private) has the ability to do.

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink
  7. d braden wrote:

    Actually that is the INTENDED consequence.

    Republicans can not beat Obama with an significantly improved economy. So they strangle the government.

    Reagan increased governement employees to get out of his recession, pappy bush did the same, so did W…

    It is just bad if a dem does it. First thing Romney will do is start adding government jobs….

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

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