The Public Sector Is Doing Fine
Americans have endured 40 consecutive months of unemployment above 8 percent.


Deroy Murdock

Sometimes a picture is worth six words.

“The private sector is doing fine,” may be the single sentence that finally sinks this most logorrheic of presidents. Coming just one week after unemployment ticked up from 8.1 to 8.2 percent, President Obama’s June 8 press-conference remark seemed spectacularly uninformed, if not staggeringly callous.

One would not expect a president of the United States in a tough reelection bid to utter something on today’s No. 1 issue that could be refuted almost effortlessly.

The chart below, produced by the Heritage Foundation’s John Fleming and James Sherk, confirms that the public sector is doing fine.

The private sector? Not so much.

Through May 2012, among those ages 16 and over, private-sector employment remains 3.9 percent lower than where it stood when the Great Recession commenced in December 2007. This is an improvement over early 2010, when that figure bottomed out at negative 7.6 percent. Still, private-sector employees have suffered significantly as compared to government workers.

Local-government employment is off by 2.8 percent, and state-government employment is down by 1.3 percent. This demonstrates that some mayors, city council members, governors, and state legislators have tightened their belts through America’s economic doldrums.

Uncle Sam’s situation, however, is completely different. Since December 2007, federal civilian employment has ballooned by 11.6 percent, not counting temporary Census workers. Rather than tighten his belt, Uncle Sam has removed it, unbuckled his trousers, and let his jolly belly flop, Buddha-like, right onto his knees.

In an outstanding Washington Post piece on Monday, Marc Thiessen explained just how fat and happy the public sector really is.


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