Paul Krugman is pulling no punches in blasting Obama for his “the private sector is fine” remark last week.(Mitt Romney hasn’t wasted any time, either, using the line as an opportunity to suddenly become a champion of the middle class, even while saying that he doesn’t want to hire any more cops, firefighters, or teachers).
What Obama was trying to say, Krugman says, was the the public sector is doing even worse than the private sector, which is merely doing OK.
Krugman made his comments on CBS this morning.
According to POLITICO’s ML Lee and Tim Mak, here’s what he said:
The New York Times columnist said the real story of the recession is that normal public-sector job growth would have created nearly 1½ million jobs.
“By this point in Obama’s presidency, if we had normal sector job growth, we’d have 800,000 more people: firefighters, schoolteachers, police officers. Instead, we’ve got 600,000 fewer,” explained Krugman. “So right there, it’s like 1.4 million jobs that we should have had in the public sector.”
“That’s what he was trying to get at and of course, he screwed up the line,” Krugman added.
In other words, it’s the public sector cuts (and lack of growth) that are really hammering the economy right now, not just the private sector weakness.
Of course, even if the country had 1.4 million more jobs in the public sector than we currently have, we still wouldn’t be back at the employment levels prior to the recession. (See the red line in the chart below, which measures job losses since the peak.) And that’s because the private sector still isn’t strong enough.