In 1981, President Reagan took the oath of office amidst a recession. Within two years, the economy was growing, and unemployment was down.
In 1991, President Bush faced a recession and growing unemployment. He began taking steps to reduce unemployment. By the time President Clinton was sworn in, the unemployment rate had declined.
In 2001, the tech bubble burst leading to a recession. President Bush took measures to drive employment and restore the economy. By 2003, the economy was growing again.
Each of these administrations faced a recession, and each used the same strategy to restore the economy. Naturally, since this tactic has worked repeatedly, the current incarnation of the Republican party is absolutely against using it again.
There is a belief amongst the Republican party, their supporters, and their commentators that not all jobs are created equal. They view jobs as being created by businesses, not the government. By that assessment, then the economy must be functioning properly, since over 6 million private sector jobs have been created.
The Republicans have pushed for less government, less spending, fewer government workers. They’ve seen over 600,000 state, local, and federal employees laid off during the past three years as governments cut back on critical services.
Beyond the 600,000 public sector jobs lost to austerity measures, supported by the Republican party, are the potential jobs lost. The other three Presidents added 1.5 percent to 3 percent more state, local, and federal government jobs to combat their recessions. Adding even 1.5 percent more government employees at all levels would create 800,000 jobs. Increasing funding to states and local governments to rehire lost employees makes 1.4 million jobs.
The magic bullet for Reagan, Bush, and Bush was hiring more government workers. They grew government to provide jobs to local areas.
Today’s Republicans have attempted to paint government jobs as not being real jobs. Government workers receive a paycheck, just like private sector employees. Government workers spend money in their local areas on housing, food, consumer goods, just as private sector employees. The only difference between the two parties is government workers often receive lower wages than individuals in the same positions in the private sector.
The Republicans have used government employees to improve the economy time and again. Now that a Democrat is faced with cleaning up the economic mess created by the Republicans, the GOP wants to change the rules of the game. European-style austerity doesn’t work, and yet, that’s the Republican solution.
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