Thursday, October 20, 2011

The eternal cluelessness of Harry Reid

The ever-lasting stupid quote machine, Harry Reid, really topped himself today. He took to the floor of the Senate to say the following in defense of the part of the Obama jobs proposal to fund jobs for teachers and first-responders:
"It's very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine; it's the public-sector jobs where we've lost huge numbers, and that's what this legislation is all about," Reid said on the Senate floor.
Oh, dear. Now there's a line for GOP ads over the next year. "Private-sector jobs have been doing just fine."

Then here's the statistic from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment rates for government workers was 5.0% in September 2010 and was 4.7% in September 2011.

And September 2011 was when the unemployment rate was 9.1%

Does that sound like jobs are "doing just fine" in the private sector?

Jim Geraghty adds some more statistics.
Most recent number of government employees at all levels, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: 21,985,000.

Recent peak:
22,980,000, in May 2010.

So from the peak, probably fueled by Census hiring, to our recent “low” that so concerns Sen. Reid, is 995,000 jobs. The Census is estimated to create about 1 million temporary jobs, or by some estimates, 1.2 million jobs. In other words, while some government offices and agencies have undoubtedly laid off some workers, it has been offset by hiring elsewhere, except for the bump in government jobs created by the Census.
As Geraghty outlines, private-sector jobs are barely keeping even with the growing size of the labor force. That's why our unemployment rates aren't coming down.

Tom Collamore has some more
on Reid's vacation from reality.
Private sector jobs have been doing just fine? Tell that to the nearly 15 million Americans who don’t have a job and want one, and an additional 10 million who are underemployed or have given up looking for a job. Almost all of them are private sector workers. Since the start of the recession, just 392,000 government workers—the group to benefit from Reid’s bill—have lost their jobs.

While it’s true that the private sector is creating new jobs, the rate of growth is far from sufficient. Since the end of the recession in June 2009, the private sector has generated an average of 50,000 net new jobs a month when somewhere between 150,000 and 175,000 are what is needed to make a dent in the unemployment rate, which has stagnated at around 9.1% since the beginning of the year.
Guy Benson has some more statistics to use to smack Harry down. Benson links this USA Today story from last year.
Federal employees earn higher average salaries than private-sector workers in more than eight out of 10 occupations, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data finds.

Accountants, nurses, chemists, surveyors, cooks, clerks and janitors are among the wide range of jobs that get paid more on average in the federal government than in the private sector.

Overall, federal workers earned an average salary of $67,691 in 2008 for occupations that exist both in government and the private sector, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The average pay for the same mix of jobs in the private sector was $60,046 in 2008, the most recent data available.
Ed Morrissey has a set of charts in case you prefer more visual statistics. And the WSJ has another set of statistics to show that the private sector isn't doing "just fine." Of course, we all understand the politics behind the Democrats jobs proposal. They know it will fail; they're just looking for a campaign issue so that they can claim that Republicans are against teachers and want there to be, as Joe Biden says, more murders and rapes.
In any case, Mr. Reid's latest stimulus proposal isn't intended to help private employers. Its goal is to help state and local government workers, especially teachers, most of whom are unionized and pay dues that can finance Democratic Senate campaigns. The $35 billion would operate as a campaign-finance pass-through account, from Senate Democrats to unions and back to Senate Democrats.

Mr. Reid knows his proposal can't pass the House, and perhaps not even the Senate, so his real agenda is to stage a vote that Republicans will oppose so President Obama can claim on the stump that Democrats are doing something to help create jobs and that Republicans stopped them.

Instead, Mr. Reid's comments yesterday reveal that he and his fellow Democrats inhabit an economic universe in which government is the main engine of job creation. That's how you get a jobs crisis.
Under the Democrats' approach, temporary jobs become permanent federal subsidies since, in their minds, the best way to get people to work is to provide federal money. It hasn't worked yet and won't work now. But the Democrats will continue staking their electoral future on their false claims. Fortunately, they have Harry Reid as one of their main spokesmen.

The Democrats keep saying these things as if they're trying to help the GOP write their campaign ads. I can see this Harry Reid quote appearing in a lot of ads.