I am so tired of the never ending mantra of the GOP against government employees--about how the best thing to do is shrink government and cut funding for not-for-profits as a way to save taxpayer dollars while they throw money at for-profit/profitable companies. Since the war on government started by Ronald Reagan, the democrats too often play defense by agreeing with the premise that they only way to go is to shrink government services and reduce the number of employees who provide those services, as well as cutting funds for the not-for-profits that add to the health and welfare of a community as well as the cultural resources/activities that enrich and sustain a community's soul, all the while somehow finding ways to subsidize private enterprise with huge tax breaks justified based on the creation of private sector (often low paying) jobs.
I am no economist. And I am not saying that communities don't need a mix of private/public and not-for-profit job creation. But it seems to me that one doesn't have to be an economic guru to know that the arguments for shrinking government employees and cutting funding not-for-profits (when they should be increasing such funding) in favor of the public subsidizing private employers are highly biased and ignore essential facts that even progressives never seem to point out:
1. Both public sector employees and not-for-profit employees add to a community's middle class tax base, while a significant portion of the tax and other subsidies to lure corporations (not to mention the financial support of sports stadiums) actually leave the local community. It's fair to say that 100% of the taxes used to pay government and local not-for-profit employees ends up staying in the community. These employees buy homes and cars and other consumer goods and services. The churn the economy.
2. Public sector and not-for-profit employees add to the quality of life of the communities in which they live and work. Teachers and artists. Well educated. They provide provide essential and other services that add to the quality of life of their communities.
None of this is meant to say that the private sector doesn't contribute to the well being of a community and that there aren't reasons to sometimes use taxpayer money to assist that sector in the creation of jobs. But to think of the private sector as the cure all and continue to allow the the government sector as the reason taxpayers are suffering is ridiculous at best and dangerous at worse.
By slashing public sector jobs we not only diminish public services, but we increase unemployment. After all, does anyone imagine that the private sector will employe all the folks who no longer have government jobs. Not to mention that the flood of unemployed will surely result in further depressing wages.
Instead, we should be committed to stopping the outsourcing of government jobs to private companies and to using public money to better support our not-for-profits so that they can do the important work they do and pay their employees--who are so often dedicated to those organizations and their missions--so that they can be secure members of their communities.
There are so many needs that are going unmet that we should be creating jobs programs to meet those needs while decreasing unemployment rates. Yes it costs money--but those jobs lead to people in the community and paying taxes and spending money which supports private sector businesses so that they too can create jobs.
It seems to me that the way to jump start the economy on local, state and national levels is to use those tax payer dollars we do have to create public and not-for-profit jobs that will best serve our communities both in terms of services and economic bang for the buck, which will in the end result in more private sector jobs.