Austerity Doesn’t Work Here, Either

Krugman again shows how cuts in federal, state, and local government jobs are much larger under Obama than either Bush or Clinton. This certainly undercuts GOPer arguments that the size of government has increased under Obama, it’s also further proof that austerity ain’t helping the economy … and neither are Bush’s massive tax breaks for the wealthy!

With all the focus on Europe’s sudden discovery that austerity doesn’t work, we shouldn’t lose sight of just how much de facto austerity we’ve done on this side of the Atlantic. Here’s a comparison of changes in government employment (federal, state, and local) during the first four years of three presidents who came to office amid a troubled economy:

That spike early on is Census hiring; once that was past, the Obama years shaped up as an era of huge cuts in public employment compared with previous experience. If public employment had grown the way it did under Bush, we’d have 1.3 million more government workers, and probably an unemployment rate of 7 percent or less.

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