On ABC's "This Week," economist Paul Krugman corrected former Republican gubernatorial candidate Carly Fiorina's right-wing talking point that public-sector jobs consist of government bureaucrats. Instead, he cited the thousands of schoolteachers, plus police officers and firefighters, who have been laid off. In addition, Krugman argued, public spending cuts have resulted in an "incredible drought of basic infrastructure." Watch:
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. [...]
KRUGMAN: But when we say public sector jobs, it is not a bureaucrat in Washington, D.C.
FIORINA: Oh, it is, actually.
KRUGMAN: When we talk about public sector jobs — when we look at the public sector jobs that have been lost in large numbers in this — it’s basically school teachers. Don’t think about bureaucrats. It’s school teachers. What we’ve laid off is hundreds of thousands of school teachers. And when we talk about the cuts in public spending that have happened, they are not, you know, some god awful who knows what. It’s actually public investment. It’s largely fixing potholes and repairing bridges. So, you know, you have this image of these wasteful bureaucrats doing god knows what. What we’ve seen is an incredible drought of basic infrastructure, and laying off hundreds of thousands of school teachers.
FIORINA: It is a fact that virtually every department in every organization in Washington, DC, has seen its budget increase for the last 40 years. That money is being paid to hire people. The number of people who are — of course there are some teachers…
KRUGMAN: The vast bulk of public sector employees are at the state and local level. They are largely school teachers plus police officers plus firefighters. And your notion that it’s all these bureaucrats — that’s a myth that’s used…
FIORINA: It’s not a myth, it’s a fact. It’s not a myth, it’s a fact. We don’t have enough private sector job creation.