‘Government Does Not Create Jobs’
So, I’m sure you’ve heard this line before. “Government does not create jobs” is a rallying cry from the GOP. Most often followed by arguments against stimulus spending or overall Keynesian (counter cyclical) economic policy.
It’s a great theoretical point, as I think we can all agree that a vibrant private sector is, and should be, the main driver of our economy. That said, the dogmatic extreme of government not being able to create jobs is at best overstated and at worst a blatant lie.
Fast forward to this week and a report just came out from Florida TaxWatch showing that the biggest employer in almost every Florida county is a government entity.
A government entity is the largest employer in 51 of the state’s 67 counties, and in every county in Florida government is at least one of the top five largest employers, Florida TaxWatch reported in a study out Tuesday.
The study – which comes as Gov. Rick Scott has repeatedly argued that the state’s economic future depends on the health of private sector jobs, not government employment – also said that on average, nearly 4 out of 10 of the largest employers in any county around the state are a government entity…
Not a silver bullet, as it’s not talking about total employment, but it is stark contrast to West’s comment.
It’s more damning when you look at West’s own county in particular, though. From the full report: half of the top ten employers in Palm Beach county (including each of the top four) are government entities…
1 Palm Beach County School Board
2 Palm Beach County Government
3 Florida State Government
4 Federal Government
9 Florida Atlantic University
While not the purpose of this report, it does help bolster the argument that overall job growth in this recovery has been hindered by the overall job losses and budget cuts in the private sector.
The TaxWatch conclusion says it best:
Government employers are some of the largest employers in nearly every county in Florida. There is no county in Florida that does not include at least one government entity in its top five largest employers. Additionally, a public entity is the largest employer in over 75 percent of counties accounts for all three of the largest employers in nearly one-in-five Florida counties.
While this analysis does not consider the total size of government employment compared to total private employment, it is certainly clear that the government has a massive direct effect on local economies throughout the state through employment and payroll practices, in addition to the indirect effects that government actions, such as regulation, have on the economy. Moreover, for many counties the potential closure of a military base or correctional facility, or large layoffs due to federal, state, or local budget shortfalls, poses a significant economic threat.
Putting aside the roles public entities are assigned to fulfill, it is important that Floridians understand that for many of the largest employers in their county, their payrolls are paid by tax dollars.
Well stated and duly noted.
Thanks for reading…