The Republican employment platform is a curious set of contradictions. In July, the Economic Policy Institute noted:
Two years after the official end of the Great Recession, the continued loss of public-sector jobs is an obstacle to reaching pre-recession employment levels. This decline in government employment is a historic anomaly; public-sector employment actually increased in the two years after official recoveries began in 10 of 11 post-World War II business cycles. The lone exception was in the early 1980s when the economy experienced a double-dip recession.
In total, the public sector has lost 430,000 jobs compared to the private sector’s net gain of 980,000 jobs since the Great Recession ended in June 2009 – an average of nearly 19,000 jobs each month over that time.
And Steve Benen explained:
Indeed, it’s important to remember that these job losses are, in the eyes of Republicans, a positive development. Under the GOP economic model, the public sector is supposed to lose jobs, and as part of the party’s austerity agenda, this is a problem that must get worse on purpose.
Earlier this year, for example, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was asked about his spending-cut plans and the fact that the cuts would force thousands of public-sector workers from their jobs. “So be it,” the Republican said.
In other words, deliberately making unemployment worse wasn’t seen as a problem. This is a feature of the GOP model, not a bug.
Combined with the prospect of 1.8 million jobs lost to the debt ceiling deal, the rejected payroll tax cut extension, the miniaturized stimulus, and everything else they’re doing, it is getting harder and harder to avoid the inevitable proposition.
The conventional wisdom is obvious. If, then. If the unemployment rate remains high, then Obama faces a difficult electoral hurdle.
It is the gravity of the indictment that demands caution. The implication that the Republicans are sabotaging employment recovery efforts in order to augment their chances of winning the White House is a deeply cynical suggestion, at best. But how else do we reconcile the results the GOP has delivered?