Broun, a Tea Party favorite, told a conservative talk-radio host that he was not concerned with the loss of jobs if the debt ceiling was not raised because “those are gonna be government employees that are put out of work.” Then he added, “There a lot of government employees that need to go find a real job.”
Judging by what has been going on in Washington, there are a lot of congressmen who also “need to go find a real job.” The people of northeast Georgia might be in the mood, come next election, to give Broun an opportunity to start sending out his resume.
More important, however, Broun’s observation reflects the belief among many budget-cutters that cutting government jobs will only help the economy and the nation.
Recently, it was announced that due to state budget cuts and the end of the federal stimulus money, Alabama will have to lay off 1,100 state-government employees.
These are real people. They have been doing real jobs. They work in the state Department of Agriculture, in the court system, in juvenile probation offices and state administrative offices. And more than half of the soon-to-be unemployed are on the state Department of Mental Health payroll.
Not only will the residents of Alabama be denied their services, the economy of the state will not feel their purchasing power and the coffers of the state will not collect the taxes they would have paid.
It’s fortunate that some of them will be able to begin drawing retirement, but most will not. Instead, most will become part of an army of unemployed and, given the current state of the job market, they will likely stay there for a while.
So, in addition to lost services, lost purchasing power and lost tax revenue, there will be the psychological impact that comes with losing a job and with it the ability to provide for one’s family and one’s self.
Despite what Rep. Broun and others like him say, these are real jobs done by real people, and when those jobs are lost, there are real consequences to the unemployed and to us all.