Under President Obama the private sector has now created jobs for 27 straight months. We've created more jobs in the last year than were created during the entire eight years of the Bush presidency, but the public sector has lagged, losing jobs in 16 of the last 18 months. These are jobs we could not afford to lose. Every job is important. Public-sector job losses can kill this fragile jobs recovery as surely as private-sector job losses.
Last week, Mitt Romney mocked President Obama's call to put more firefighters, police officers, and teachers on the job. Just today, one of his top surrogates, former New Hampshire governor John Sununu, doubled down on Romney's assertion and suggested that "people stop jumping at it as a gaffe and understand that there's wisdom in the comment." Unfortunately, Romney's moment of candor isn't his latest gaffe; it's his economic plan. In fact, it is his jobless economic plan.
While Romney and tea party Republicans are busy scoring cheap political points by demonizing workers, they've failed to support key pieces of the president's American Jobs Act, which would boost hiring in the public sector, a critical component of ensuring that our economic recovery continues.
In fact, Republicans continue to attack the recovery plan that President Obama passed shortly after taking office, failing to admit that a number of Republican governors were only able to balance their budgets because of federal aid provided to their states, funds that kept teachers in the classroom and police officers and first responders on the streets, helping drive down crime to the lowest national level in decades. These public-sector jobs help keep our nation secure and our students competitive.
As we search in this election for the good intentions of our neighbors, for common ground, and for the way forward, perhaps we should ask one another: How much less do we think would be good for our country? How many fewer teachers in our kids' classrooms, and how many fewer police officers on the street? How many fewer college degrees would be good for our global competitiveness? How much less research and development would be good for our country's new economy, or the challenges we face on this finite planet? How many hungry American kids can we no longer afford to feed?
Our recovery stands at a crossroads: We can return to the Bush policies that created the biggest economic disaster since the Great Depression, or we can continue to move forward with President Obama. I urge the Republican congress to make a serious effort and take up the president's American Jobs Act so that our economy has the benefit of a strong public sector -- which supports private-sector growth -- and our country can continue to create jobs and expand opportunity.
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