Monday, February 4, 2013

Fiorina's 2 min hate on the public sector

The latest from failed Senate Candidate and failed CEO Carly Fiorina really chaps my hide. She was on one of the gasbag Sunday shows with Paul Krugman (ht Balloon Juice), and they got into it about public vs private sector jobs. Here is some of the transcript, thanks to Think Progress:

CARLY FIORINA:I think it’s important to remember, when we talk about the economy, that a private sector job and a public sector job are not the same things. They’re not equivalent. I’m not saying public sector jobs aren’t important. But a private sector job pays for itself. A private sector job creates other jobs. A public sector job is paid for by taxpayers.

This fiction that somehow a private sector job is the only way to get money moving in the economy is such hogwash. Much of public sector is intended for investment into the commonwealth and the common good, all so we can have a decent society and invest in the future. I can give you two very good examples: my wife and me!

My wife is a public high school teacher, providing instruction on biotechnology and health care to a population of relatively low socioeconomic students that are almost all Hispanic or black. She's training the next generation of scientists and health care workers and drawing from a population with very few opportunities. This undoubtedly will have a great impact on our economy in the future as many of these kids go on to college and take 21st century jobs.

I'm a scientist, working at a private research institute, and the vast majority of my funding comes from grants from the National Institutes of Health. My work focuses on the development of the brain, with special focus on how thyroid hormone shapes neural circuits. Cretinism and other thyroid-hormone related disorders that affect the brain are still a major issue world-wide, including in the US, and research into this issue will help keep our medical costs in check throughout the 21st century.

But according to Fiorina, we're just greedy bureaucrats sucking on the public teat and twiddling our thumbs. We offer no value to the economy. The truth is we make very meager wages. Our friends in the private sector, at least those lucky enough to be in finance or the defense contract business, make mad money. Virtually every single penny we make goes into buying things or paying for services. We pay rent (which is ludicrously high in SoCal). We buy clothes and shoes for our kids. We pay for soccer and baseball leagues. We buy overpriced food and fuel. We hardly have a single penny to save from our wages every single month. But Fiorina thinks that if I fork over $1400 (!) for daycare and after-school every single month, I'm not helping to create jobs. That money must just disappear into the ether, because it once was "tax money".

I hope she runs for Gov next time around. I can't wait to end up at one of her events and ask her about these comments...