State worker unemployment rate hits a staggering .21 percent

Victor Joecks

After months of liberal talking points like “We’ve cut to the bone” or “shared sacrifice” – with plenty of hyperbole and loud noises thrown in for effect – the crisis is now at hand. The state worker unemployment rate is now .21 percent.

But in one respect, the new budget’s effect is slight. Out of the almost 17,000 state employees, only 37 have received layoff notices effective today, the start of the new fiscal year.

State workers have once again largely escaped this recession’s cruelest effect – job loss – with a combination of increased retirements, elimination of vacant positions and cuts to pay and benefits.

Crisis! The world is ending, the sky is falling, government must get bigger! How can any segment of people survive an employment rate of .21 percent? Raise taxes now!

I hope my sarcasm, above, is as evident as NSHE’s hyperbole was during the session.

What’s really pathetic about this story is that some lawmakers are claiming to be shocked, shocked that so few layoffs are occurring.

The number, although still preliminary, surprised Republicans, Democrats and labor leaders, who expected a higher total.

Why would this – reality exposing liberal and government employee union talking points to be disconnected from the truth – be a surprise to anyone?

It happens every session. The public employee union machine, enabled by war chests of union dues, liberal lawmakers and some members of the media, proclaims the sky is falling at the first sign of cuts – or even reductions to the amount of desired increases. Using inaccurate sob stories, big-government advocates flood committee rooms, while private employers and employees often don’t have time to sit through a four-hour meeting to offer three minutes of testimony.

Physically being in Carson City creates a false sense of reality for many politicians. They’re surrounded by lobbyists and union workers who want them – THEM – to solve their problems. It’s easy to lose sight of the individuals who are struggling, but aren’t looking to the government for help. So easy to satisfy the people who are there – lobbyists and government employees – at the expense of the average citizen who’s going to pay those taxes, because a politician can forget him.

As a result, you had the Nevada Legislature and Gov. Brian Sandoval raising taxes on private-sector workers facing a 12-plus percent unemployment rate so government employees could only face a .21 percent unemployment rate.

“Shared sacrifice” indeed. Let’s hope lawmakers, like Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, who’s quoted in the article showing some critical thinking skills, challenge the lies and hyperbole put forward by public employee unions during the next election and the 2013 session.

Notes: I really need a Grantland-like footnote section, because sometimes important notes don’t fit into the flow of a blog post.

1. The fundamental issue is: “What is the role of government and what taxpayer resources are needed to accomplish those goals?” If citizens limited government to its core functions and relied on practices like competitive bidding to obtain those outcomes, there would be many layoffs. This would be great for taxpayers – especially since the quality of government services would improve. The point of this post, though, is to show the disconnect between the truth and the exaggerations you often hear from liberals and government union lobbyists.

2. On a personal level, I am extremely sympathetic to anyone who has lost a job – be it a public- or private-sector employee. It stinks to be without a job. Personal sympathy, whether mine or a lawmaker’s, though, doesn’t justify taking more money from taxpayers to give a public employee a job. What about the employee in the private sector who doesn’t get hired, because taxes increased? If the government picks winners, there are always losers.