15 September 2020

Greg Jericho (click through for charts!): “what we should not be doing is following the suggestions of the more unhinged libertarian groups among us who suggest we need to sack more public servants to ‘share out the pain’. Clearly the private sector has been hit harder than the public sector. But that always happens in a recession. The bureau of statistics estimates that in the June quarter private sector jobs fell 6% below where they were a year earlier, while public sector jobs were down just 0.5% … And yet suggestions that this makes it seem like the public sector is largely avoiding the recession is a bizarre way to look at the economy. Firstly it takes a twisted kind of logic to think a government should purposefully hurt public sector workers just because those in the private sector are suffering. It also has a rather blinkered view of the role of public servants. In reality most public sector work is ongoing — it needs to be done regardless of the economy. Police, healthcare workers, teachers and yes, even ‘bureaucrats’, don’t stop having work to do because unemployment rises. … And importantly the public sector works as a stabiliser in a struggling economy. Wishing it to shrink just because the private sector is shrinking is to wish for less economic activity and public services at a time when both are desperately needed.