Letter: Many public services propel our economyLast Wednesday’s “big question” on WPR asked if hiring more public sector employees would help the economy.
By: Ramona Gunter, town of River Falls, River Falls Journal
Last Wednesday’s “big question” on WPR asked if hiring more public sector employees would help the economy.
One guest, Daniel DiSalvo, said no. She said we need more private sector jobs, not public sector jobs.
More private sector jobs would indicate a stronger economy — so yes, we want them. But private sector jobs are created by consumer demand.
The private sector does not create more jobs so it can sell more goods. It creates more jobs when consumers demand more goods. And consumers are created by private AND public employment.
When we lay off public sector employees and cut public sector positions (as we have), we create less demand.
But we don’t want more public sector positions simply to have more public sector positions — any more than corporations want more employees simply to have more employees.
We need to answer the questions: Is there less demand for public services? Do we need fewer teachers? (Do we want larger classes?) Do we need fewer police officers, firemen, nurses, road workers, and DMV staff?
I don’t think there is a decreased demand for public services. (Ironically, Wisconsin businesses report a shortage of skilled workers at the same time that we’ve cut higher education funding.)
Even when we can’t afford a new shirt or the latest technology, we still educate our children and fix our roads. We still need police officers.
Why do we choose to give up revenue (by way of corporate tax breaks), and defund our schools and other public goods as a result?
The revenue is there. We just don’t collect it.
Why do we want fewer public employees when demand for public goods has not decreased and when the loss of public employees creates even less consumer demand for private-sector products?