Tea Party Government
Mike Konczal and Bryce Covert have an important article out about how the Tea Party governors have slashed public employment with major impact on education (43% of the lost jobs were in education). The key findings from their analysis are:
- There was a 1.2 percent decline in 2011 in the number of public employees, the largest yearly decline of the Obama presidency and one of the largest on record. Public employment declined 2.6 percent the last three years, the highest on record. This has had a significant drag on the economy as a whole.
- Most of these losses were at the state level, but they weren’t spread out evenly across all states – the 2011 losses were concentrated in just 12. The 11 states that the Republicans took over during the 2010 midterm elections – Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – account for 40.5 percent of the total losses. By itself, Texas accounts for an additional 31 percent of the total losses. The remaining states make up the rest.
- The 11 states that the Republicans took over in 2010 laid off, on average, 2.5 percent of their government workforces in a single year. This is compared to the overall average of 0.5 percent for the rest of the states.
- In addition to the large losses in the public workforce, the 11 states that went Republican passed and enacted more reproductive freedom restrictions and voter suppression laws than states with mixed or Democratic legislatures. The push to target and lay off public employees fits in with more traditional conservative political policy priorities.
At the same time, tax cuts for millionaires and corporations have also been pushed. Talk about priorities.