Since the start of the recession, 8.4 million American jobs have been lost.
Last year, the Obama administration boasted that over 640,000 jobs had been “created or saved” by its economic policies — specifically, by the $787 billion “Stimulus Bill”. It took a lot of flak for that nebulous turn of phrase. How do you really identify those, anyway? Analysis by a handful of news organizations — e.g., the Washington Examiner — revealed that exaggerated claims by recipients of stimulus funds caused an overestimation by at least 94,000 jobs. It didn’t look good. So, in December the word came down that counting procedures were being changed and the “created or saved” phrasing was no longer to be used. If you go to www.Recovery.gov, you will see that the claim is now 595,000 “Recovery Funded Jobs Reported by Recipients” for last quarter. Interesting…. Oh, and it still doesn’t matter if the existing jobs were in any real danger of being eliminated.
So, what about the jobs that really ARE being created under the Recovery Act? Where are they? Well, many of them are in the public-sector. Not surprising, since 1/3 of the stimulus package was earmarked for state and local governments. And they are union jobs. In fact, public-sector union jobs have been increasing by about 10,000 a month of late. And the percentage of federal employees making $100,000+/year rose to 19% — during a recession, no less.
Y’see, private-sector union membership has been dropping drastically over the last 35 years or so. The past year alone saw 834,000 union members leave — and not necessarily by choice. As per the National Institute for Labor Relations Research (NILRR), “in 2008 and the first 11 months of 2009, unionized private-sector workers lost their jobs at more than double the rate of their private-sector non-unionized colleagues.” With so many union-workers in the private-sector losing their jobs, Big Labor desperately needs a boost to keep money in the coffers. That’s where their buddy Barack Obama comes in.
As I’ve mentioned before, the President isn’t ashamed to admit that he is beholden to Big Labor. And he, along with the Democrats in Congress, is doing his level best to show his appreciation by increasing the power of the unions. If they can’t stop the decline in private-sector union jobs, then the “big government” party can just make more public-sector union jobs. For the first time, over half of federal employees are “under union boss monopoly bargaining control.” As always, more union jobs means more power and more dues for the unions. The unions, of course, spend big money — around $400 million to Democrats in the 2008 campaign cycle — to get and keep their liberal friends in public office, who in turn raise taxes and pass legislation that is favorable to unions. And the circle continues….
As Michael Barone points out in IBD, though, that circle may not be as unbreakable as it appears. “Public-sector employees are still heavily outnumbered by those who depend on the private sector for their livelihoods. The next Congress may not be as willing as this one has been to bail out state governments dominated by public-sector unions. Voters may bridle at the higher taxes needed to pay for $100,000-plus pensions for public employees who retire in their 50s. Or they may move, as so many have already done, to states like Texas. Obama’s Democrats have used the financial crisis to expand the public sector and the public-sector unions. But voters seem to be saying, ‘Enough.’”
Just an aside: Would you believe the highest paid city government employee of Madison, WI, last year was a Metro Transit bus driver? He earned $159,258, including $109,892 in overtime and other pay. (That’s more than the City Comptroller, the Police Chief, or even the Mayor.) He and the other 6 city bus drivers who made over $100,000 each in 2009 can thank the union contract that gives the most senior drivers (who already are paid the most) first dibs for any available overtime. And there was a lot of it — $1.94 million worth! Well over-budget. But, why so much? The main reason is that, after using up all their sick leave (whether valid or not), Metro employees are increasingly taking advantage of the federal Family Medical Leave Act to get more time off. While the latter is not paid leave, the resultant absenteeism means someone else needs to fill in. The union contract also makes sure there are only a limited number of part-time drivers, and they are only allowed to drive morning & afternoon school routes. Thus, more opportunities for full-timers.
* Now, let me be perfectly clear,… I have no problem with a person taking sick leave or earning a nice living, regardless of who they work for, as long as it’s fair and honest.