Jobs, Who Creates Them?
In GoLocalProv.com today, Dan McGowan tells of how Rhode Island has shed more government jobs, as a percentage, than any other state in the country since 2007. He uses some nice numbers and percentages to show the facts.
In total, Rhode Island lost about 4,400 government jobs over four years, ranking 33rd among states in jobs lost. The state now has about 59,900 government employees.
The 6.84 percent reduction over four years is the highest in the country
Ok, so there’s nothing wrong with using percentages and raw data like that. But let’s look at it another way. We have 59,900 people employed by the taxpayers. According to the 2009 census, RI had about 1.05M people living here. Doing a little math there shows that one in every 17.5 people living in the state is employed by the state or a municipality. That’s not one in every 17.5 working people, that’s one in every 17.5 people. That includes babies, students, retirees. If I knew how to figure out how many people are actually of working age, I’d better know just how many people working in the state, work on the taxpayer dime.
McGowan also goes on to very casually mention that states like New Hampshire and North Dakota actually gained government employees. Why is that not surprising when those states are actually growing their economy? North Dakota is experiencing a bit of a boom as currently the fastest growing state in the country. New Hampshire is a pro-business state. So to compare Rhode Island to those states would be comparing apples to dump trucks.
The article also gets opinions from Kate Brock, the executive director from Ocean State Action who says that cutting state employees is killing the economy. I don’t understand how costing the taxpayers less by not having to pay for bloated payroll will harm the economy. It means not as much money will need to come out of taxpayers’ pockets, so we will have more money to spend on the economy, to spend on businesses that are still trying to make it in Rhode Island. This is exactly how you grow an economy, not hurt it.
Carcieri was on the right path when he cut the government workforce. In my own random experience, he didn’t go far enough. We’ve all seen the reports of government employee waste, with examples like the guy literally sleeping on the job.
We do have many problems in this state, especially with regard to the government, but cutting too many government jobs definitely is not one of them.