» Hard times for educators: According to a report released today spearheaded buy the White House Council of Economic Advisers, as well as the National Economic Council and Domestic Policy Council, the above figure represents the losses in educational jobs since June 2009. The report does originate from the White House team, and as such is expectedly supportive of the President’s proposal to stem this tide – a package of $25 billion to prevent further layoffs. The last few years have seen heavy cuts to public funding, largely pushed by conservative politicians during dire economic times, and thus public-sector jobs have dwindled in states and localities, driving up unemployment despite months of sustained (if underwhelming) private-sector job growth.
Conservatives would have you believe that our disappointing economic performance has somehow been caused by excessive government spending, which crowds out private job creation. But the reality is that private-sector job growth has more or less matched the recoveries from the last two recessions; the big difference this time is an unprecedented fall in public employment, which is now about 1.4 million jobs less than it would be if it had grown as fast as it did under President George W. Bush. And, if we had those extra jobs, the unemployment rate would be much lower than it is — something like 7.3 percent instead of 8.2 percent. It sure looks as if cutting government when the economy is deeply depressed hurts rather than helps the American people.Paul Krugman (via azspot)
» Another month of 9-plus-percent unemployment: Of the past 28 months, 26 of them have sported unemployment above 9 percent. And here’s a number that will depress the crap out of you — 14 million people are currently unemployed, which makes job gains of 100,000 seem like not enough, let alone completely flat months like August.
I think it’d be fair to categorize the proposal (to cut union bargaining) as an overreach. Maybe the biggest reason for that claim is the fact that he didn’t campaign on this.University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor David Canon • Offering his take on Scott Walker, whose stance on unions is hurting his popularity among many. Many Wisconsin political scholars, even the ones more charitable to his position, agree that the overall end result doesn’t bode well for Walker’s long-term prospects, but may be motivated by something else entirely. “As for his political future, I’m not sure this is going to benefit him in the long run,” said University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor Thomas Holbrook. “I see it as more of coming from conviction and opportunity.” source (via • follow)
Instead of stimulating the hospitality sector of Illinois’ economy, Senate Democrats should come back to the Madison, debate the bill, cast their vote, and help get Wisconsin’s economy back on track.A statement from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker • Criticizing State Senators for taking a “vacation” instead of voting for the bill that would totally screw over their most important constituents. Walker is in no mood to compromise at the moment – even as unions have offered to take the cuts in efforts to retain their collective bargaining rights – which means that Democrats really have no incentive to return. Especially considering the continental breakfasts they’re probably eating right now! source (via • follow)
Is this whole Wisconsin budget mess ginned-up? That’s one of the threads flowing around the left end of the media spectrum, which suggests that Wisconsin’s budgetary problems have nothing to do with unions – and everything to do with stuff Scott Walker pushed through. They’ve been pointing to this report from the state’s fiscal bureau with this particular sentence: “More than half of the lower estimate ($117.2 million) is due to the impact of Special Session Senate Bill 2 (health savings accounts), Assembly Bill 3 (tax deductions/credits for relocated businesses), and Assembly Bill 7 (tax exclusion for new employees).” To make it clear, these are all things that Walker pushed through. These have nothing to do with unions. They’re intended as stimulus through tax cuts and incentives, however, not special interest-focused spending as a few have suggested. The overall result still leads one to question Walker’s motives, however – because, based on this evidence, that the union collective bargaining cuts could be at the benefit of his own initiatives, not strictly “balancing the budget.” (thanks mgolladwine) source
» Also worth noting: As of 2010, 82,000 federal workers make over $150,000 – a huge leap from even five years earlier. And had Obama not ordered the pay freeze, federal pay would’ve gone up by 1.4 percent across the board. Federal workers are getting paid out of whack with the private sector as-is. To stop this now, as he’s getting hit on all sides, seems like a very smart move on Obama’s part, though we’ll see as the story develops.