During the Bush Presidency, We Paid People to Do Stuff…And It Worked!

Leaving aside the idiotic conservative trope that “government jobs aren’t real jobs”–your local fireman or police officer might be surprised to learn that–the conservative opposition to reducing unemployment by paying people to do stuff that needs doing has been incredibly harmful. Worse, as is often the case, it’s hypocritical (boldface mine):

An enduring impediment to President Obama’s economic recovery has been the erosion of public-sector employment, driven largely by layoffs at the state and local levels. As we’ve noted before, this wasn’t a problem recent Republican presidents faced. Total government expenditures (federal, state and local) grew under Reagan and the two Bush presidents much more than it has under President Obama….

We’ve adjusted these to reflect percent change, to account for population growth. The basic story is that Obama’s private-sector recovery has outpaced Bush’s, but Obama’s been hobbled by government cutbacks that Bush never faced. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Here’s a chart:


The effects of state and local government cutbacks were not only predictable, but predicted. By the Mad Biologist, no less:

What would help is if the $300-$1200 per household were split between the municipality and the state in which that household resides [instead of being given as a social security tax refund].

Most local and state governments are suffering from budget shortfalls due to property tax revenue decreases and lower sales tax revenues. Most also have outstanding deferred maintenance problems. If given the money, they will spend it–all of it.

I said this in May. Of 2008. This is not hard, unless one is willfully ignorant due to ideological blindness.

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1 Response to During the Bush Presidency, We Paid People to Do Stuff…And It Worked!

  1. albanaeon says:

    Willfully ignorant due to ideological blindness should be the motto the Repubs run under for this election.

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