Mitt Romney has come out in staunch opposition to hiring more public workers, and other Republicans – from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie – have demonized public workers as a drain on our economy. But who exactly are these Republicans talking about when they rail against so-called “public workers?” The answer is: teachers, cops, and firefighters.
As the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities uncovered – the majority of public workers being targeted at the state and local level by Republicans aren’t nameless bureaucrats pushing paper – but are actually men and women teaching our children science, patrolling our neighborhoods, and putting out our fires. Seven million teachers make up the largest share of public workers, with 2.4 million cops and firefighters coming in second, and 1.4 million nurses and health professionals coming in third. These are the people who are being most effected by Republicans austerity.
As the White House reported – a quarter-million teachers have lost their jobs in the last three years thanks to budget cuts. Altogether more than 600,000 public sectors workers have been laid off – mostly by Republican Governors – since President Obama took office. Had these American still had a job – then the unemployment rate could be as much as a full point lower than it is today.