Both Dean Baker and Josh Bivens weigh in Robert Samuelson’s outburst at the New York Times for saying that the government can too create jobs. (He went so far as to call it “flat-earth” thinking). Sadly, Samuelson’s attitude is widely shared — even, at least rhetorically, by Barack Obama.
So let me not focus on Samuelson’s piece so much as on the general proposition. What can it possibly mean to say that only the private sector can create jobs?
It could mean that government jobs aren’t “real” jobs — presumably that they don’t supply something of value to society. Samuelson disavows that position, I think — and rightly so. After all, the bulk of government workers are in education, protective services, and health. Do you really want to say that schoolteachers, firefighters, and nurses provide nothing of value?
What then? Well, Samuelson argues that when the government adds jobs, these come at the expense of jobs elsewhere. This is manifestly not true when the economy is depressed; all the evidence on big multipliers amounts to saying that under current conditions government jobs create additional jobs in the private sector, rather than crowding them out.
Under near-full-employment conditions, however, it’s true that expanding government employment displaces other employment. But this is equally true of any expansion in private employment! Suppose a successful business expands, and adds worjers. How does it do that? By attracting customers away from rivals, or from other kinds of products; by attracting capital; by bidding away workers who might have found employment somewhere else…
Choosen excerpts by JMM from
The White House has released a new report that finds that the loss of teachers and other education staff is forcing communities into difficult choices that harm our children’s education and future, including increasing class sizes and shortening school years and days. The report shows that more than 300,000 local education jobs have been lost … Continue reading »
Renowned Economist and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz strongly rebuked the policy of disinvestment in education occurring in debt-laden US states, as he addressed a packed house at Victoria Street theatre in Santa Barbara on February 19 in 2010. But this is also going on in Canada and the trend seems to get worse every where since … Continue reading »
Throughout American history, almost every generation has had substantially more education than that of its parents. That is no longer true. When baby boomers born in 1955 reached age 30, they had about two years more schooling than their parents, according to Harvard University economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, who have calculated the average … Continue reading »
Ten districts across Orange County have released the names of hundreds of teachers and other employees facing potential layoffs. Last month, districts announced they could cut more than 1,500 school jobs as part of an effort to slash up to $269 million from budgets, prompted by the state’s ongoing budget crisis. An Orange County education … Continue reading »
The Cleveland School Board unanimously passed a good portion of the CEO’s budget recommendations at Tuesday night’s meeting – including laying off 508 teachers. The rest of the plan the was not voted on. They will vote on the remaining parts on May 4th. During the meeting Eric Gordon, CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), … Continue reading »
At least 4,100 Detroit Public Schools teachers have received layoff notices and are being told that they can reapply for their jobs next month. Detroit Federation of Teachers union President Keith Johnson told The Detroit News (http://bit.ly/HI0fpe) that that notices were sent by the district this week. The layoffs are effective Aug. 24, shortly before … Continue reading »