President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the U.S. economy would be “much better off” if federal, state, and local governments hired more workers.
As cities like Chicago face budget crises from unfunded pensions for retiring public workers and cities as large as Detroit have declared bankruptcy, Obama suggested these governments should spend more taxpayer money to improve the national unemployment rate:
If those layoffs had not happened, if public sector employees grew like they did in the past two recessions, the unemployment rate would be 6.5 instead of 7.5. Our economy would be much better off, and the deficit would still be going down because we would be getting more tax revenue.
The President made the comments at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Chattanooga, TN as part of a larger campaign to promote his economic policies. He continued:
Instead of using a scalpel to get rid of programs we don’t need and keep vital investments that we do, the same group has kept in place this meat cleaver called the sequester that is just slashing all kinds of investments in education and research and our military. Yet all the things that are needed to make this country a magnet for good middle class jobs, those things are being cut. These moves don’t just hurt our economy in the long term. They hurt our middle class right now.
After blaming the sequester–a budget control measure which still increases overall federal spending–Obama lamented how rough the last four years have been:
Over the past four years, another 700,000 workers at the federal, state and local levels of government lost their jobs. These are cops and firefighters. About half of them are people that work in our schools. Those are real jobs. It doesn’t help a company like Amazon when a teacher, cop or a firefighter loses their job. They don’t have money to place an order. That’s hundreds of thousands of customers who have less money to spend.