The Last Thing States, Cities Need Is a Taxpayer Bailout

The Last Thing States, Cities Need Is a Taxpayer Bailout By Stephen Moore for Real Clear Politics

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August jobs numbers showed impressive hiring gains in nearly every sector of the economy. None more so than government.

The public sector added 344,000 jobs last month – including 95,000 permanent state and local jobs, 11,000 permanent federal jobs, and 238,000 Census jobs — giving government workers the second-lowest unemployment rate in the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And yet Democrats, under their latest $3 trillion-plus pandemic stimulus plan, want to dump almost $1 trillion  into state and city coffers — the sector of the economy that LEAST needs more federal help.

Here’s why the left’s plan is so wrong-headed, starting with these August figures:

Unemployment by Industry

Leisure/hospitality: 21.3%

Mining: 12.4%

Transportation: 11.3%

All-industry average: 8.5%

Government: 5.7%

Banking and finance: 4.2%

Another way of describing the imbalance is that throughout the pandemic, a private sector worker has been twice as likely to face the indignity and financial hardship of losing a job than a government worker (8.1% versus 3.5% job losses), according to the BLS data. This is because most government workers have one privilege that almost no one in the private sector has: lifetime tenure.

Federal employees have received an especially sweet deal. Virtually none have gone without a paycheck.

It’s true that a significant portion of the 344,000 government jobs created in August are temporary Census positions, and that overall, government employment is 831,000 below its February level. But compared to other industries – especially the hard-hit food and drink sector, where employment is 2.5 million below the February figure, and professional and business services are down 1.5 million – government workers can’t complain.

The new jobs numbers undermine the logic or fairness of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s demand for what would be by far the largest bailout of any institution in American history.

Her $3 trillion-plus stimulus plan would have taxpayers write a nearly $1 trillion check to states and cities (on top of $225 billion in federal aid already sent), showering money on what’s already one of the healthiest sectors.

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