Government Doesn't Create Jobs

So, what--I don't have job?  The other thousand-odd people employed by UWEC don't have jobs?  This is one of the Republican talking points that's always mystified me, and both of the Republican front-runners for governor here have adopted it, big time. 

The idea is so pervasive in our culture that it was even parroted recently by Obama: never mind that it's obviously, patently untrue.  Government creates millions of jobs, many of which even pay reasonably well and offer decent benefits.  Government workers in turn create other jobs: we hire plumbers, babysitters, a kid who mows the lawn; we spend our money on the same stuff private-sector workers spend theirs on--maintaining our house, car payments, dry-cleaning, food; most of what we make goes right back into the local economy.  Universities, in particular, have a known multiplying effect: for every dollar the state of Wisconsin puts into the UW system, it gets back something like $1.60 in economic activity--and, of course, it gets a more educated populace. 

The other hot Republican idea right now is eliminating pensions for public-sector workers (and then, no doubt, they'll go after our healthcare, and then and then and then).  Here's the rationale, as I understand it: most private-sector workers no longer receive pensions—they were swindled out of them a generation ago, and told to go gamble their savings at the Wall Street dog track by putting them in 401Ks.  So why should-public sector workers be any less fucked over?  People should not have to pay taxes to create jobs that don't suck as bad as theirs!  Basically, the fact that some government jobs don't completely suck flies in the face of Republican ideology, so the obvious thing a Republican governor would want to do is insure the total sucky-ness of all those government jobs the government doesn't create.  Or something.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jon, on a totally different matter (can't see how to email you) my partner and I (in Ireland) were driving last night on a windy dark country road - we rounded a bend and were right on top of a beautiful deer, which we hit with the wing mirror. It staggered around a bit and then made off into the countryside - we couldn't find it to see if it was OK. We were both profoundly affected by this and so I wanted to thank you for your poem about the teenager hitting the deer - I was googling to see whether a deer could have survived such a thing when I came across your poem. It was nice because you understand that it is some kind of profound thing - a visceral connection with a wild creature whose space we have invaded with our roads and a coming to terms with hurting that exquisite beauty. Thanks and all the best, Michelle and Tim, Wicklow

Jon Loomis said...

Thanks, Michelle and Tim. If you just hit it with your mirror it's probably fine--deer are pretty tough critters. I've been to county Wicklow--my former sister-in-law and her husband had a cottage there, though I couldn't currently find it on a map (it's been twenty-some years). Beautiful country there. Here's wishing you a healthy, prosperous new year!