The Lies My Wingnut Friends Like to Tell


Jordan Weissmann has a great post up about public sector job losses, and this was the first comment that I saw. What tripe. I'll highlight the most ridiculous line of the day:

"in fact we are helped if these workers move to the private sector."

That's an outright, bald-faced lie. We are not helped when public sector workers move to the private sector.

When someone making a living wage with benefits and a retirement plan loses their job, there is virtually no chance they are going to end up fully employed at their same salary and benefit level when they move to a "private" sector job. In many cases, people who had health insurance are moving to retail jobs that offer few benefits, no retirement savings plan of any significant kind, and much lower wages.

Think of the city worker who, at 19 years of service, is cut from his position and has to fend for himself in a small community. Where does he go? Retail or light manufacturing? Customer service? You tell me how it benefits the American economy for a worker making $70-90K per year, with benefits and a retirement, to go to work at two jobs for a third of that in hourly wages with no benefits and no health care coverage. Then, explain to me how, when that guy overworks himself and has to go to the emergency room, we're "helped" as a country.

When people are making money, paying taxes, and using their benefits, they are engaged in positive economic behavior. When they are faced with cuts, when they stop saving for retirement, and when they go long stretches without seeing a doctor, they end up in emergency rooms or bankrupt. That's negative economic behavior and it is absolutely sinking this country.

Nice try, wingnut.