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September 06, 2011

Leftwing Nutjob: Stop Being So Mean To Public Employees

Katrina vanden Heuvel says, they are from the government and they are here to help so shut up and back off.

Two thousand and eleven has been one of the toughest years for public workers that I can remember. Every month until this past one, the private sector has added jobs, and every month the public sector has lost them. The August employment report shows that the public sector got hit hard again — losing 17,000 jobs. In states across the country, public workers aren’t just being laid off; they’re being made into economic scapegoats. These workers deserve to be treated fairly any time. But in the wake of Hurricane Irene, as we watched teams of federal, state and local government workers tirelessly saving lives, and on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, they deserve much better.

The last decade has been marked by both peril and possibility, and in all of it there has been no shortage of American heroes. Many, if not the vast majority, worked for the government — as firefighters and police, as teachers and rescue workers. In the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, men and women proudly wore hats and shirts labeled “FDNY” and “NYPD.” When we wept for our nation, it was the bravery of the first responders that reminded us of our national character. There was a newfound respect for public service and a heartening change in how Americans viewed their government. Fire and police departments, and organizations such as the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps, saw a surge in applicants. We didn’t just want to believe in those workers. We wanted to be them.


Government isn’t just about first responders, of course. When our public school teachers are constantly asked to do more with less, when they work to prepare the next generation for an uncertain economic future, they deserve our deepest gratitude. When regulators prevent corporations from spilling chemicals and oil and waste into our rivers and oceans, we should sing their praises. When bureaucrats at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau stand up to the big banks, we should stand alongside them.

I'm glad she got around to mentioning that not all (or even remotely most) government workers are courageous first responders but that came much later in the column. She also ignores that plenty of places around the country are served by volunteer fire and ambulance crews but liberals don't do details. It's an old trick to pretend that your average government employee is out there facing dangers day in and day out facing down danger to better serve you. The reality is quite different.

Would the Republic survive if we cut back on the 112,000 employees at DoJ, 71,00 at Interior, 109,000 at Agriculture or 109,00 at Energy? Hell, I bet we can find more than a few non-essential spots in the over 700,000 civilians working at the DoD. I'm guessing we'd be ok. I'm really confident because we've expanded the federal workforce by 12% under Obama. I think the world would go around just fine without them.

At the state and local level we need teachers, garbage men and a whole host of other jobs that do provide necessary services (or course we might want to try privatizing some of them) but we could do without hordes of desk bound bureaucrats.

Democrats have argued that one of the reason unemployment is staying at current levels is because public employees are being laid off as stimulus funds run out. Well, that's a good thing. You can't expect the federal government to keep borrowing money to protect states from their out of control spending. If a state can't afford it's workforce then it should cut back or unions should be willing to talk about wage and benefit cutbacks. This is all old hat to the private sector, there's simply no reason that productive sector of the economy should be burdened with keeping the unproductive sector fat and happy. Figure out what essential government services are and start slashing the hell out of the rest.

Here's a tip on where to look...when the weather gets bad and they give "non-essential personnel" the day off, start with those who get to stay home. If you can't cut 10-20% of those people, you aren't trying.

If public workers can't stand the stigma of working for the government, they are free to get a job in the private sector (if they can find one). Short of that, they need to stop whining and say thank you every time they deal with an actual taxpayer.

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posted by DrewM. at 10:47 AM

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