Employment and freedom

Kevin Drum, who had the nerve to suggest that leaded gasoline that  was bad for people (as though that mattered next to the admirable and meritorious fortunes it made for GM, DuPont and Standard Oil!) has finally posted a graphic even I can understand.

However, Kevin completely misses what’s before his eyes. See, the Republican/American private sector jobs (red, of course) are going up while the Democrat/Socialist jobs are going down.  When something goes up while something else is going down, you don’t need a stinkin’ PhD to understand the situation: as any fool can see — I can see! — the government jobs we’re finally clearing out are not just parasites, but the jackbooted regulatory oppressors with their feet on the throats of our job creators! Teachers making kids do boring homework, librarians saying “shush!”, cops writing speeding tickets, weights and measures guys telling Safeway they can’t call 14 oz a pound if they want to, EPA busybodies telling entrepreneurs what they can and can’t dump in the river and the air, ATF thugs after my personal machine gun.

Fortunes are being made selling  bottled water in West Virginia right now because those proud, independent mountain people kept the government from messing with Freedom Industries.

Fire ‘em all and we’ll be rich.

Also, Benghazi.


Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

7 thoughts on “Employment and freedom”

  1. I’d be curious (quasi-bleg) to know of this 3% reduction in the government workforce, what the basic percentages are.
    I know that in California, there have been significant cuts to court staff, to building and plan inspectors, and to other areas where the private sector intersects with government. And it results in delays and additional costs to the private actors. But, apparently, they have the money to pay for it. So the flush corporation or individual can spend more on all these things without any significant impact (or just pay the costs on to the consumer). But a smaller government often means a less efficient system…
    A cut in State Department security? Benghazi!

  2. Michael, your final statement (irony) shows up as a snark frequently in the comments of Drum’s blog. It makes me think maybe you’ve be commenting there under a nom de plume.

    And BTW, I think you should put this entire post up on Kevin’s comments.

  3. A related chart I have seen shows public service employment for past downturns and it was nowhere near what we are seeing. State public service unemployment is way higher than usual

    Usually the US government provide funds to states to support their budgets. That did not happen this time and it impacted state public service employees hard.

    Presumably this is also impacting the overall economic recovery because states are not spending as much as usual.

  4. Do private contractors for government (e.g., Booz Allen Hamilton) show up on the red line or the blue line? (Serious question)

  5. The index of this chart begins in 6/2009. At that time private jobs were bottoming out from massive layoffs going back to late 2008, while government jobs were having a slight uptick due to ARRA.

    So isn't the surge in private jobs just recovery from the extreme bottom, while the tapering of gov't jobs just the petering out of ARRA funds?

  6. You do understand that four Americans, including an ambassador, were slaughtered in Benghazi, largely because a political choice was made to not send them help, don't you? Or do you find this funny, in some asinine, low-information, juvenile way?

  7. Dead or In Jail – I had the same question. IN the federal agency where I work its damn near impossible to hire a fed, even for an important management position. But it seems like the contractor base, if not growing, is certainly not shrinking.

    I would guess that thay are in the private sector. My pay check comes from a contractor, and theoretically they could assign me to a non-government task (if they had any – I don't think they do.), whereas they government could only make me do government work.

    A similar gray area (although much smaller in scale) is university researchers. Most are basically paid by the government (at least in my field) in some way or another, even at private universities.

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