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Mitt Romney on Tuesday morning, telling the people of Craig, Colorado that he wants to put them back to work by firing 145,000 Americans for the simple crime of working in the public sector:

That stimulus he put in place, it didn't help private sector jobs, it helped preserve government jobs, and the one place we should have cut back was on government jobs. We have a 145,000 more government workers under this president. Let's send them home and put you back to work!
Mitt Romney's 145,000 claim isn't accurate, but even if it were, it's amazing that Romney believes firing tens of thousands of Americans would be good for the economy. The way Romney puts it, firing public sector workers would create jobs in the private sector, but that's nonsense. The economy isn't zero-sum game: You don't need to fire someone to create a job. In fact, every time someone loses their job, no matter whether they are in the private or public sector, the economy as a whole takes a hit.

But Romney's crazy economic theory is not even grounded in reality—under Obama, public sector employment has dropped, while private sector employment has grown. Obama signed the stimulus in February of 2009. Since then, public sector employment has dropped by 608,000. Private sector employment, meanwhile, has increased by 760,000. Even if you just look at federal employment (which is but a small fraction of the overall public sector workforce), only 26,000 jobs have been added, a slower pace of growth than in the private sector.

So when Mitt Romney says he wants to see an economy where public sector workers are fired while private sector workers are hired, that's exactly what he's gotten ever since the stimulus was signed into law. Sure, he'd be happier if even more public sector workers had been fired, but then we'd be even worse off. The only way things could be better today than they are is if we'd had an even bigger stimulus than we did. If that's what Mitt Romney were pushing for, perhaps his criticism of President Obama would be worth listening to. But it's not—he's saying the exact opposite.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Wed May 30, 2012 at 01:15 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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