Rasmussen: Gov’t workers a lot more optimistic on economy than private sector

posted at 12:55 pm on December 28, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Rasmussen discovered an interesting, but entirely predictable, trend in its consumer-confidence polling.  While a near majority of private-sector employees see the economy as deteriorating, the opposite is true of public-sector employees.  Forty-six percent of government workers think the economy is improving:

Government employees are much more bullish about the economy than those who work in the private sector. That’s a big change from the beginning of the year when those on the public payroll were a bit more pessimistic than private sector workers.

Data from the Rasmussen Consumer Index from the past seven days shows that a plurality of government workers think the economy is getting better while those who work in the private sector tend to have the opposite view. Those in the government sector are also more upbeat about the current state of the economy and their own personal finances.

Today, 46% of government employees say the economy is getting better while just 31% say it’s getting worse. Among those who work in the private sector, the numbers are reversed: 32% say better and 49% worse.

Twenty-four percent (24%) of government employees rate the economy as good or excellent while just nine percent (9%) of those in the private sector are so upbeat.

Fifty-five percent (55%) in the private sector rate the economy as poor, a pessimism shared by 38% of those on the public payroll.

Why might that be?  For one thing, government work has been a growth industry over the last few years.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the rapid increase of government employment since the last recession ended in 2003.  While the number contracted slightly in the middle of 2009, government jobs have already begun growing again.  At the moment, the level of government jobs is only 35,000 off from its August 2008 peak:

Compare that to the curve seen for the private sector, where over 3 million jobs have disappeared in Barack Obama’s first year (111,793,000 in January to 108,495,000 in November):

The Democratic agenda includes bailouts for states and rapid expansion of federal oversight in the energy and health-care sectors.  What government worker wouldn’t be encouraged by that kind of job security?

Small wonder Obama and his government employees keep talking about the “recovery.”  They seem to be focused like a laser on adding more government jobs, and clueless about the private sector losses.


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Since that was the deal offered to us in exchange for all the downsides the job had; working nights/weekends/holidays for years at a time; for being insulted, spit on, assaulted, shot at; for having to watch good, innocent people die; for having to listen to some pervert explain it really wasn’t his fault he molested his 8 yr old stepdaughter because she came on to him and he couldn’t help himself. There’s more, but you get the idea. Through it all, I loved my job, bad days notwithstanding, and I’d do it again. I earned my pension. Now, after the fact, you seem to want to begrudge me it.

So, I don’t have the right to enter the private sector workplace and compete with others? Nepotism? In civil service? Please.
Dan859 on December 28, 2009 at 5:01 PM

NO ONE TOLD YOU TO BE A COP! That was your choice to serve your government just like it is the honor of serving in congress not a career! That’s the risk you take just like I take the risk in the private sector of not having the nanny handouts of job security because of unions, lifetime pension and health benefits ( I am not comparing putting my life on the line such as a cop only the monetary benefits). But, again you chose to be a cop, I chose the private sector it still doesn’t entitle you to anymore of the 52% of us that pays income tax.

No one says you can’t work in the private sector but, then you should be required to take less pension not for the rest of your life! Why should you be entitled to continue to collect off of the tax payer if you retired from government service? I don’t begrudge you for the pension but, not forever that is what is breaking state governments. AGAIN WE THE TAX PAYER PAID YOU, DON’T FORGET YOU WORKED FOR THE TAX PAYER!

Trust me there is MUCH nepotism in civil service! What color is your sky? I am very politically active in my area and the nepotism runs rampant LMAO!

xler8bmw on December 28, 2009 at 5:20 PM

No one says you can’t work in the private sector but, then you should be required to take less pension not for the rest of your life! Why should you be entitled to continue to collect off of the tax payer if you retired from government service?Just like those on Social Security have to pay less if they work. People like this cop are bloodsuckers on the taxpayers.

Wade on December 28, 2009 at 5:48 PM

Sorry…. Just like those on Social Security have to pay less if they work. People like this cop are bloodsuckers on the taxpayers.

Wade on December 28, 2009 at 5:49 PM

Dan859 on December 28, 2009 at 5:01 PM

What u been smoking ?

Wade on December 28, 2009 at 5:51 PM

Wade on December 28, 2009 at 5:49 PM

Sorry…. Just like those on Social Security have to pay less if they work. People like this cop are bloodsuckers on the taxpayers.

Actually that is only to a certain age you get less if you make over 11K a year. Over 67 you can make as much as you want and still get full SS. My mom still works and gets SS now she can make as much as she wants over 67.

xler8bmw on December 28, 2009 at 5:58 PM

4. I’m proud of what I do and your last statement leaves me convinced that you couldn’t get a fed job and are bitter.

Bradky on December 28, 2009 at 1:49 PM

No wonder someone is so sensitive about being overpaid. You are on the dole in a sense.

CWforFreedom on December 28, 2009 at 6:35 PM

Sorry…. Just like those on Social Security have to pay less if they work. People like this cop are bloodsuckers on the taxpayers.

Wade on December 28, 2009 at 5:49 PM

What u been smoking ?

Wade on December 28, 2009 at 5:51 PM

Geez Wade, you’re on a roll. Any more incisive comments you’d like to throw out there? So, I took a job with a specified salary and specified benefits. Now that I’ve retired, I’m a bloodsucker? Not a really convincing piece of logic there.

AGAIN WE THE TAX PAYER PAID YOU, DON’T FORGET YOU WORKED FOR THE TAX PAYER!

Trust me there is MUCH nepotism in civil service! What color is your sky? I am very politically active in my area and the nepotism runs rampant LMAO!

xler8bmw on December 28, 2009 at 5:20 PM

So, this is the “If you don’t have a good arguement, shout and insult” debate style? FWIW, I’m a taxpayer, just like you.

Dan859 on December 28, 2009 at 6:58 PM

So, this is the “If you don’t have a good arguement, shout and insult” debate style? FWIW, I’m a taxpayer, just like you.

Dan859 on December 28, 2009 at 6:58 PM

No one insulted you. And we realize you pay income tax as well but, your income tax is wash against what we pay. I happen as many are in, the bracket pay 72% of the taxes in this country. I don’t get a pension for life, healthcare for life, forced retirement after 25 years etc. So to try and justify it is ludicrious and we’re tired of paying for it at the detriment to the states and the country. You and yur unions have all but bankrupted the states and country! Trying to justify your freebbies isn’t working! In the end you still wind up with the brass ring. You get more than you pay out and it bears the brunt on the tax payer. Do you deserve something for putting your life on the line absolutely but, not what your getting because you chose to do so and it’s just not cops getting it’s all government employees. Can you justify to me why a High School Admin Asst gets 75K a year health benefits and pension for life and and plety of time off on the tax payer??????

Sorry you can’t justify your choice of job any better than I can justify mine other than money except the tax payer doesn’t pay for my benefits. I chose at a young age to go into the private sector because that is where you made the highest salary. Now not only are the local, state and fed jobs 50K or more, you get all the benefits while we take the risk. You also, brought up COLA’s before. Do you know many private sector jobs don’t get COLA’s but YOU DO! Sorry you need to have a better arguement for your cause!

xler8bmw on December 28, 2009 at 7:46 PM

xler8bmw on December 28, 2009 at 7:46 PM
No one insulted you.

What color is your sky? No, that’s no insult. All caps, no that’s not shouting and/or insulting. LMAO!, in response to a statement, naw, nothing there.

And we realize you pay income tax as well but, your income tax is wash against what we pay. I happen as many are in, the bracket pay 72% of the taxes in this country.

Condescending much? When I was working, my total Federal, state and local taxes were 49-50% of my gross. I guess that isn’t enough for you.
Moving on.

You also, brought up COLA’s before. Do you know many private sector jobs don’t get COLA’s but YOU DO! Sorry you need to have a better arguement for your cause!

Please, show me where I brought up COLAs. Not me.
You said earlier you don’t begrudge me my pension, but not forever. What is that, some sort of conditional non-begrudgement? I can have my pension, but only under terms and conditions set by you? It’s subject to future review and revision whenever you see fit?
There’s only one arguement I need to make. I don’t need to justify anything to you or to anyone else. I worked and retired under a certain contract that was freely negotiated by both sides. Now you want to retroactively change that.

You and yur unions have all but bankrupted the states and country! Trying to justify your freebbies isn’t working!

First, a bit oversimplified I think. There’s a whole lot of other factors you’re ignoring. Second, I don’t get any freebies. I earned everything I got. You want a “do over” on my contract, but I don’t get a “do over” on my career choice. I’m sure when you sign a contract for something, you expect the other party to fufill their end of the contract. If they don’t, you have remedies and options available to you to enforce the contract. Why don’t I have those same rights?
If you want to argue that municipal wages and benefits are too high, make the arguement. If you get enough people to agree with you, you can change it. I think your arguement would be better served by separating retirees from current workers. Is 50K a year plus benefits excessive? I don’t know. I think it depends on the job and on the cost of living in the area.
I actually share a lot of your concerns, but I just get tired of seeing all these sweeping generalizations and unjustified attacks.

Dan859 on December 28, 2009 at 8:48 PM

Dan859 on December 28, 2009 at 8:48 PM

Sorry someone else brought up COLA’s but public employees get them every year. You’re awfully sensitive for being an ex officer if the caps bother you LOL!

And yes by me as a tax payer and many others we the tax payer should decide whatever you should get the pension considering it is the tax payer dollars for the bonds to pay them.

NJ is 39 Billion in debt because of pensions! They should declare bankruptcy renegotiate and then boot the unions out and never pay another pension or healtcare contract! You want it you pay for it just like we the private sector does.

You forget we the tax payer didn’t make that contract with you the state government did without asking the tax payer.

You have a union to remedy your contracts we don’t just a lawyer to sue if the contract isn’t abided by. But, here is the diffrence not all business give contracts we are at will employees and the contract is the monetary values within the employment time. Union workers are not at will employees because you have the protection of the union.

It is almost impossible to fire a union worker and we have many that are being paid and don’t even work because of the union contracts.

Unions are not a necessary evil any longer but, have become evil to the tax payer. the rights of the worker they use to protect are now protected by federal law and there is no need for them any longer other than to rob companies and tax payers. The current healthcare debacle and SEIU, GM and other US auto companies are perfect examples where unions are no longer needed. They also, have no place within the government sector i.e. cops, firement, hospital, teachers etc. If you choose to work in those profeession then you take the chances everyone else does like the private sector. Agsin, you can’t defens why you deserve the benefits for the rest of your life on the tax payer dole.

xler8bmw on December 28, 2009 at 9:10 PM

xler8bmw
I was brought up and educated that there’s certain ground rules in a debate. I know it’s a quaint notion, especially on the internet. That doesn’t mean I can’t try to meet those standards, and expect the same from others.
You still haven’t answered my question. The time I spent on the job is gone, but now you want to throw out my retirement. I don’t have the ability to redo those years in a private sector job and make up the difference. This is why I say there needs to be a distinction between retirees and those currently working.
You mentioned NJ. I’m sure there’s more to the problem than the municipal employees. Again, make that arguement. Change the law so that incoming public employees have the same rules and circumstances as private employees, but they also have to have the same freedoms to negotiate contracts and wages, etc.
There’s one other thing. Do you really want them to be at will employees? When a cop arrests a politician’s son, he should be able to be fired? When the fire marshall does an inspection, he has to worry about his job? What about building inspectors? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there’s no corruption or abuse. But it’ll be better if they’re all at will employees? I don’t think so.
What you seem to be missing is that my retirement was part of my compensation package. That’d be like a previous employer coming to you and saying they’re taking some money back from you because their balance sheet isn’t as good now as they thought it would be when they were paying you. I’m not on the dole. I earned those benefits, just like you earn your pay. If you’ve got issues with that, it needs to be addressed through the electoral process. If you don’t like the way your local government is negotiating contracts, change your local government.

Dan859 on December 28, 2009 at 9:57 PM

Small wonder Obama and his government employees keep talking about the “recovery.” They seem to be focused like a laser on adding more government jobs, and clueless about the private sector losses.

This is painted with a very broad brush. The fact of the matter is this, as a government employee, I didn’t get to choose who I work for. And no, I did not vote for Barack Obama, I voted for John McCain. However I took an oath to my country as a government civilian just as I did when I served on active military duty. And I take that oath seriously.
I can understand some of the hostility in this thread. However I think much of it is very broad in how it is being written. As government employees, we do not get free health care. The government pays a part of it, but the employee also pays part. My share comes to $125 every two weeks. As for my retirement plan, I like millions of other government employees am part of the Thrift Savings Plan. See http://www.tsp.gov It’s basically a 401K plan. We as employees contribute each payday. The government matches our contributions up to 5% of our salary. And I like many others took a very substantial loss last year during the financial crisis. And to say that those who work for the government are just a bunch of uneducated losers is really insulting. I’m a veteran who served my country honorably, including combat time during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm on active military duty. I chose to continue my service to my country as a civilian. I work for the military commissary system providing the troops and their families with American groceries around the world. And I’m proud of the work I do to support our warriors. For those who have nothing good to say about our government civilians, think about the people who keep you from crashing into another plane the next time you fly. Think about the FBI agent that’s so deep undercover he probably hasn’t seen his family in months. Think about the thousands of civilian workers working side-by-side with our military around the world in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. And contrary to popular belief, many of them work “outside the fence” and face many of the same dangers as our troops. I’m not saying there are not some bad apples working for the government. But many of the comments I’ve read here are just plain wrong. I’ve worked for the government as a civilian since 1992; I have a 5-figure salary as do most of my colleagues. And we’re not high school dropouts. The overwhelming majority of us have college degrees. And we could easily make more money in the private sector. However we are honored to serve our nation. We pay taxes just like other Americans. Is government too big? I say yes. But do I have the power to downsize it? In a word…yes, by exercising my right to vote. Which I do every election. I do not agree with many of the policies of the current administration, but I have an obligation and duty to carry out policies of the administration as I am directed. Otherwise I am subject to disciplinary action, including removal from federal service. Yes, government employees CAN be fired. I know, I’ve fired several federal employees over the course of my civilian career. The government of today is not what it was 30 years ago. I know some of you will still defend your negative comments. But I’ll just close by saying the vast majority of us who work for the government take our jobs very seriously and are proud of what we do.

galvestonian on December 29, 2009 at 7:42 AM

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