Paul Krugman Explains Why Obama’s Private Sector Gaffe Wasn’t Wrong

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On CBS, Paul Krugman explained how Obama got the phrase wrong, but his point about private versus public sector health was correct.


Here’s the video from CBS This Morning:


Krugman was asked about Obama’s private sector, “gaffe” and he detailed how Republicans have killed 1.4 public sector jobs. Krugman said, “You know, that was an unfortunate line. The president bungled the line. The truth is the private sector’s doing better than the public sector, which is not well enough. And actually the real story about this economy is that this cutback at the public sector are what’s hurting recovery. By this point in Obama’s presidency, if we’d had normal public sector job growth, we’d have around 800,000 more people, firefighters, school teachers, police officers. Instead we’ve got 600,000 fewer, so right there is like 1.4 million jobs that we should have had in the public sector, and of course, those are translated to more private sector jobs too. So that’s what he was trying to get at, of course, he screwed up the line.”

The fact is that once the stimulus dollars stopped coming from the federal government, state and local public sector layoffs went up. It isn’t just that state and local governments can’t afford these employees. There is an ideological component that was put into motion by the Republican victories in 2010. Republican governors and the then newly controlled Republican House are on an ideological mission to destroy the public sector. Public sector layoffs hit a record high in the year after the Republican victories. Part of this is due to their belief in small government, but they also see the political benefits to killing public sector unions that mostly support Democrats.

An additional 1.4 million jobs would have a dramatic impact on the unemployment rate. To put this into context, if we were at normal public sector employment, there would be an additional 116,000 jobs a month created. The monthly job creation number of the course of a year would be double what it is today.  More people would be back to work, and the unemployment numbers wouldn’t look so bad.

Since Mitt Romney has decided that the country doesn’t need more public sector employees, voters shouldn’t count on the jobs situation getting better if he wins the election. In fact if he implements his plans, more public sector layoffs will be coming. Republicans have proven themselves to be more interested in their ideology than fixing the economy. If they are victorious in November, don’t expect an abrupt shift away from the job killing policies that they have been advocating for during the Obama years.

As Paul Krugman said, the president may have bungled the phrase, but his point was accurate. The private sector is doing better than the public sector, and the Republican public sector job killing agenda is hurting the entire economy. While the media continues to obsess over a phrase taken out of context, they are missing the bigger point. Obama may have not gotten the phrase right, but his point was correct. 

  But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the media to focus on what the president was saying, when they can work themselves into a tizzy over a self-manufactured gaffe.

10 Replies to “Paul Krugman Explains Why Obama’s Private Sector Gaffe Wasn’t Wrong”

  1. I have to thank the early Walter Winchell for such neologisms as presstitutes and swastinkers, however vile he became in his post-war years. Meanwhile, what liberal press?

  2. If Paul Krugman says it, it's true.  When he makes mistakes or mis-judges something, he admits it.  Dude's not a liar or a spinner.

    Been reading Krugman for years, and understood what the President was trying to say and blew it. Krugman has been saying for a long time that this austerity that is being forced in Europe, and the same policies being forced here by the GOP, all this cutting money from the safety net programs and the complete cut off of most federal funds to the states is having a devastating effect on our economy. 
    Do not be fooled. The GOP is keeping the economy on the precipice of a cliff to assure there power grab in 2012, and from the look of things so far, they will most likely succeed in destroying not only the middle class, but this country as we know it.
    Great legacy to look forward too.

  4. Daily Kos: Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan & Kevin McCarthy: Plot To Sabotage US Economy with Frank Luntz
 via @dailykos
    On January 20, 2009 Republican Leaders in Congress literally plotted to sabotage and undermine U.S. Economy during President Obama's Inauguration. 
    In Robert Draper's book, "Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives", Draper wrote that during a four hour, "invitation only" meeting with GOP Hate-Propaganda Minister, Frank Luntz, the below listed Senior GOP Law Writers literally plotted to sabotage, undermine and destroy America's Economy.
    The Guest List:
     Frank Luntz – GOP Minister of Propaganda
     Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
     Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA)
     Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA),
     Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX),
     Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX),
     Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI)
     Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA),
     Sen. Jim DeMint (SC-R),
     Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ-R),
     Sen. Tom Coburn (OK-R),
     Sen. John Ensign (NV-R) and
     Sen. Bob Corker (TN-R).
    Non-lawmakers present Newt Gingric

  5. Krugman is right on; from the moment the press called this a 'gaffe' (falling in line with the GOP) I kept saying it wasn't one. When business sits on two trillion dollars in profits, it isn't exactly not doing well, is it?

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