Which segment of the economy was the $787 billion stimulus bill meant to energize, the productive private sector or swollen government bureaucracies? Either way, it’s not working: Despite Stimulus Funds, States to Cut More Jobs
Eleven weeks after Congress settled on a stimulus package that provided $135 billion to limit layoffs in state governments, many states are finding that the funds are not enough and are moving to lay off thousands of public employees.
…The layoffs are one early indication of how the stimulus funding could be coming up short against the economic downturn. As the stimulus plan was being drawn up, there was agreement among the White House, congressional Democrats and many economists that a key goal was to keep states from making big layoffs at a time when 700,000 Americans were losing their jobs every month.
The poor economic forecast for many states remains, even with billions of Federal money pouring in:
Ray Scheppach, executive director of the National Governors Association, told a Senate committee last month that states are facing a $200 billion deficit over the next two years. At least a dozen states, including California, Georgia and New Jersey, have ordered furloughs of workers, and increasingly, layoffs loom as the next step.
Some state legislators are thinking ahead:
In some states, layoffs are occurring partly because legislators are not taking every step to avoid them. Republican lawmakers in Missouri want to use less than a third of the state’s $2.1 billion in flexible stimulus funds to close budget shortfalls. They want to proceed with cutbacks and return $1 billion of the money to residents in the form of tax cuts. Using the money to plug budget gaps, they argue, will leave a deficit once the stimulus money is gone in 2011.
In other states, the Obama Administration is calling the shots.
It’s not all bad news for troughfeeders: It’s A Good Time To Work For Uncle Sam
President Obama’s call last year for “shared sacrifice” doesn’t extend to federal employees, at least based on the details of his administration’s 2010 budget released this week.
At a time when the official unemployment rate is nearing double digits, and 6.35 million people are receiving unemployment benefits, the U.S. government is on a hiring binge.
Executive branch employment — 1.98 million in 2009, excluding the Postal Service and the Defense Department — is set to increase by 15.6 percent for the 2010 fiscal year. Most of that is thanks to the Census Bureau hiring 102,000 temporary workers, but not counting them still yields a net increase of 2 percent in one year.
There’s little belt-tightening in evidence in Washington, D.C.: Counting benefits, the average pay per federal worker will leap from $72,800 in 2008 to $75,419 next year.
…The final evidence that it’s a good time to have a .gov e-mail address? Civilian government employees are set to enjoy a 2 percent raise. Not only are private sector workers are struggling to keep their jobs, but their earnings are stagnating and pay cuts are no longer uncommon.